Exercise-induced asthma is common in patients diagnosed with asthma, but people who don’t have asthma also develop the problem. Thanks to the expert help of the doctors at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic, exercise-induced asthma doesn’t need to limit your activities. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the 13 offices throughout the Pacific Region, including Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho.
Strenuous exercise can trigger asthma symptoms. The problem develops in 70-90% of asthma patients. It also affects 10% of people who don’t have asthma. Athletes who train or compete in cold air have the highest risk of exercise-induced asthma.
Asthma develops when the airways in your lungs become inflamed and swollen, and extra mucus is produced. As a result, the airways narrow, it’s hard to breathe, and you develop asthma symptoms:
Exercise-induced asthma causes the same symptoms. When you exercise, you breathe faster and deeper. You’re also more likely to inhale through your mouth instead of your nose. As air passes through your nose, it warms up and gains moisture so it’s compatible with your lungs.
By comparison, air inhaled through your mouth doesn’t change in temperature or moisture content. When it reaches your lungs, it’s too dry or too cold for your airways. As a result, they naturally tighten, making it hard to breathe.
The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma may begin shortly after you start exercising or any time while you’re active. Your symptoms may get worse 5-10 minutes after you stop exercising, then you usually feel better within 30 minutes of resting.
Though it’s not common, you may have a second round of symptoms 4-12 hours after you finish exercising. Called late-phase exercise-induced asthma, this round is usually less severe, but it can take up to 24 hours before the symptoms go away.
You can stay active by using asthma-controlling medication. Patients with asthma may need daily medications to reduce airway inflammation, as well as quick-relief inhalers.
If you don’t have asthma, you may benefit from using an asthma medication 10-30 minutes before you exercise. Inhaled medications can help keep your airways open for several hours.
The team at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic recommends that you:
Parents should also be sure their children’s teachers know about their exercise-induced asthma so they’re prepared to help should the problem develop.
You can stay active with exercise-induced asthma when you’re treated at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic. Call or book an appointment online today.