- What is exercise-induced asthma?
- Why does exercise induce asthma?
- If I have asthma, should I avoid exercise?
- Can my exercise-induced asthma be prevented?
- What are the best exercises for someone with asthma?
- Are there some tips to prevent and treat exercise-induced asthma?
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
What Is Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Like it sounds, exercise-induced asthma is asthma that is triggered by vigorous or prolonged exercise or physical exertion. Most people with chronic asthma experience symptoms of asthma during exercise. However, there are many people without chronic asthma who develop symptoms only during exercise.
Why Does Exercise Induce Asthma?
During normal breathing, the air we take in is first warmed and moistened by the nasal passages. Because people tend to breathe through their mouths when they exercise, they are inhaling colder and drier air.
In exercise-induced asthma, the muscle bands around the airways are sensitive to these changes in temperature and humidity and react by contracting, which narrows the airway. This results in symptoms of exercised-induced asthma, which include:
- Coughing with asthma
- Tightening of the chest
- Unusual fatigue while exercising
- Shortness of breath when exercising
The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma generally begin within 5-20 minutes after the start of exercise, or 5-10 minutes after brief exercise has stopped. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with exercise, inform your doctor.
If I Have Asthma, Should I Avoid Exercise?
No. You shouldn't avoid physical activity because of exercise-induced asthma. There are steps you can take for prevention of asthma symptoms that will allow you to maintain normal physical activity. In fact, many athletes -- even Olympic athletes -- compete with asthma. For example, in the 1996 Olympic Games, 1 out of every 6 athletes had asthma. These Olympians competed in a variety of sports such as track and field, mountain biking, kayaking, cycling, and rowing. The following is an abbreviated list of athletes who have competed despite their asthma.
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee - track and field
- Jerome Bettis - NFL running back
- Amy Van Dyken - swimming
- Dennis Rodman - NBA basketball
- Ray Bourque - NHL hockey
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