What is exercise induced asthma?
Exercise induced asthma is when you start to experience asthma symptoms after doing any form of exercise. Some people may experience worse symptoms than others depending on how well their asthma is controlled.
Severity of the symptoms can vary from a slight cough and wheezing to a complete breathlessness and the feeling your lungs are being squeezed and shut down.
If you find that you start to have severe symptoms immediately after you start to exercise, then this is an indication that your asthma is not under control. At a younger age I always struggled with exercise induced asthma.
This for me was the number one trigger for almost all of my asthma attacks back then—my condition was poorly controlled 🙁 Now, as an adult, I have learnt how to manage and be more in control of the disease, which helps to prevent those attacks 🙂
What causes it?
During exercise we usually breathe through our mouth and inhale colder and drier air.
In normal breathing we generally breathe throughout the nose, which makes the air warmer and moist.The problem begins when this change in the temperature occurs during breathing, causing the lungs to constrict, because the muscles around the bronchial tube are very sensitive. Once that happens, we start to experience symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest.
Some people find that their asthma is much worse in the winter, because of the cold temperatures. I always find exercising in warmer temperatures more challenging, because of all the pollen and dust in the air.
How to treat exercise induced asthma?
The number one rule you MUST obey before you do any form of exercise is to make sure that your inhaler is with you. It is very import that you have your inhaler prior to any physical activity, for any emergency that may take place.
If you forgot it at home then guess what, go home and get it! I hate to sound like I am having a go at you, but I am only trying to look out for you 🙂 This is an advice, which I never took seriously when I was younger, hence, this caused most of my asthma attacks.
Most people give the excuse of ‘I am asthmatic, so therefore, I should not exercise’. Unfortunately, this type of mentality is what makes their asthma much harder to deal with. Your lungs need some sort of exercise just as much as any other part of the body.
By exercising, you help to develop your lung capacity and functionality, which helps immensely when coping with asthma. There are many forms of exercise that could benefit us as asthmatics, such as swimming, cycling and jogging/running.
Now, please note that if you feel your asthma is not under control, DO NOT go ahead with any form of exercising, because it will only make the situation worse. Always make sure that you have the condition well controlled prior to doing your physical activities.
Another piece of advice I will give, which I find works really well for me, is to take one puff of your reliever/rescue inhaler (blue inhaler) just before you start to exercise.
The preventer inhaler is just as important, because it helps prevent the asthma symptoms from occurring in the first place. This inhaler should be taken even if you are not experiencing any symptoms to ensure that your condition is well managed.