Exercise-Induced Asthma Exercise-Induced Asthma

Exercise-Induced Asthma: Triggers, Symptoms, And Treatments


If You might have exercise-induced asthma if you wheeze, cough, or feel tight in your chest after physical activity. It can be not very comforting whether you're experiencing it yourself or watching someone close to you suffer.


You shouldn't stop exercising or living a healthy lifestyle if diagnosed with this disease. Luckily, there are ways to prevent and treat it. My article will explain what exercise-induced asthma is, how it occurs, how it looks, and who is at the greatest risk if you have it.

What Is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Asthma-like symptoms are connected to exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), narrowing of the lungs' airways caused by physical exertion. People with Asthma are not the only ones who can experience exercise-induced asthma, which is why the term is no longer used.


Asthmatics are more likely to suffer from EIB than those without asthma, which occurs in approximately 90% of cases.


Why Does Exercise Trigger Asthma?

The air in your lungs is cleaned, moistened, and heated as it passes through your nose. Exercising makes you breathe faster, harder, and more through your mouth than your nose, which results in colder, drier air reaching your lungs.


Hence, the membranes that line your airways (called bronchi) can become inflamed, causing them to narrow, resulting in asthma symptoms. Asthma attacks occur when the airways narrow too far. Asthmatics are more likely to suffer from EIB due to their sensitive bronchi.


Symptoms Of Exercise-Induced Asthma

There are several symptoms of EIB, including:


  • Tightness of the chest

  • Labored breathing

  • Coughing

  • Poor athletic performance

  • Wheezing

  • Shortness of breath


Depending on the individual and the situation, there is a wide range of severity for these symptoms. It is common for symptoms to begin during or after the exercise period rather than at the beginning.


As soon as you stop exercising, they peak and resolve 30 to 45 minutes later.


Risk Factors

Certain communities are more likely to experience EIB than others, including people with asthma and elite athletes. Certain environmental conditions may make experiencing EIB more likely.


People With Asthma

Approximately 90% of asthmatic patients have EIB, as previously mentioned. It is also more likely that people suffering from EIB while exercising have just had an asthma episode.

Elite Athletes

There is a 30-70% increased risk of EIB among elite athletes, especially among women. Certain sports can also cause EIB.


A higher risk is associated with sports that require intense activity for more than 5-8 minutes, as well as those played in cold, dry air or chlorinated water. Some popular, high-risk sports include ice hockey, water polo, swimming, skiing, long-distance running, cycling, and activities at high altitudes.


Environmental Conditions

EIB symptoms can be aggravated by cold, dry air, and chlorinated pools.


It has also been shown that living in or exercising in areas with high pollution levels can exacerbate EIB symptoms. To avoid triggering your symptoms, it is important to know where you exercise.


Complications Of Exercise-Induced Asthma

If people with EIB are treated properly and take care of themselves, they may experience lifestyle-related complications. A sedentary lifestyle may lead to a lower quality of life if they stop exercising due to EIB.


Exercise may lead to significant breathing difficulties, which can worsen if they do not manage their asthma symptoms.


How To Prevent Exercise-Induced Asthma

Preventing EIB before it begins can be done in several ways:


Using Bronchodilators: These medications can help relieve symptoms for four hours after taking them 10-15 minutes before exercising. If symptoms begin to occur, they can also provide relief.

Preparing For Exercise: Try to ease into exercise if you suffer from EIB. You can reduce the likelihood of experiencing symptoms later in your physical activity by starting with a gentle 15-minute warm-up.

Avoiding Triggers: Dry and cold air may trigger EIB. Avoid exercising in such a climate whenever possible. If you cannot close your mouth and nose, try wearing a scarf or face mask to cover your airways. Try to breathe through your nose, which can heat the air. Allergens and viruses may also exacerbate asthma symptoms.


What Are The Best Exercises For Someone With Asthma?

Exercise does not have to be avoided by people with EIB. They mustn't stop exercising altogether. It has been shown that exercise can help asthma symptoms over a long period. However, you should know your limits, take breaks when necessary, warm up before you start, and keep an inhaler on hand.


Interval training can also prevent EIB (high-intensity exercise interspersed with rest periods). EIB sufferers can also benefit from exercising in warm, moist conditions.


When To Call 9-1-1

It is possible to die from severe asthma symptoms.


During an asthma attack, you should call 9-1-1 or seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:


  • Severe symptoms are not being relieved by your quick-relief medications

  • Shortness of breath or chest tightness

  • Drowsiness or dizziness occurs

  • You notice that your lips or nails are turning blue

  • It is hard for you to breathe

  • It becomes difficult to talk or walk normally


When To See A Doctor For Asthma

See a doctor if you suffer from EIB or asthma. Inhalers may be prescribed to you by your doctor after diagnosing you with EIB, and you may be told how to manage the symptoms after you have been diagnosed.


Having a plan of attack will likely get you exercising again in no time. Asthma attacks can become extreme if your symptoms become extreme. In the absence of treatment, asthma can have life-threatening consequences. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Fix Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Asthma does not have a cure, unfortunately. Despite this, there are several ways to treat and prevent EIB before it occurs. Medication can help treat and prevent EIB. It is also possible to prevent symptoms from occurring if you avoid triggers and exercise in a way and location that makes sense to you.


What Triggers Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Exercise triggers EIB because the air going to your lungs doesn't have time to warm up and becomes moistened by your nose when you breathe harder, faster, and through your mouth. Bronchial membranes can constrict and narrow when exposed to cold and dry air, leading to asthma symptoms.


What Does An Exercise-Induced Asthma Attack Feel Like?

Asthma attacks caused by EIB feel similar to regular asthma attacks: Coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, tightness in the chest, pain in the chest, and other symptoms. There are mild and severe attacks, as well as those that require emergency medical attention.


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