Exercise-induced asthma is a type of breathing condition that can be triggered by physical activity. Many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience exercise-related symptoms. But for those without this diagnosis, there are still significant concerns about how an individual will react in certain situations when participating or exercising intensely to the point where they need quick relief from their discomfort.
Why Does Exercise Make Asthma Worse?
When breathing, the air we take in through our nose is warmed and moistened by this passage before it reaches a different region of a warmer or drier atmosphere. This process happens for most people because they tend to breathe out when exercising, making them inhale cooler/drier breaths than sitting around doing nothing.
In exercise-induced asthma, however, some muscles are involved with narrowing down one’s nasal cavities due to an increase from coldness which causes tightness across the entire respiratory system. This prevents the insulation process for your respiratory system from taking place, making it harder to breathe in the air you are taking in.
Symptoms Of Exercise-Induced Asthma
The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma are similar to its effects on someone who has other chronic conditions. Notably, there tends to be an increase in mucus production that blocks your airways. You will notice the following symptoms:
- Coughing with asthma symptoms
- Chest tightness,
- Unusual fatigue while exercising.
- Shortness of breath while exercising.
Exercise-induced asthma is a severe condition that begins with symptoms within 5 to 20 minutes after starting or stopping exercise. If you are experiencing these signs and want advice from your doctor, it’s best not to wait!
How Can I Prevent Exercise-Induced Asthma?
There are several ways to prevent exercise-induced asthma from happening, including knowing how much activity is too much based on what other individuals have experienced before. Other techniques include the following:
Step #1. If you notice that someone is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, it’s essential to call 911 right away
- lips have turned blue
- Shows other signs of another severe attack
- having difficulty breathing
- struggling walk or talk
Step #2. Stop what you’re doing.
Have the person stop what they’re doing and sit down for 5-10 minutes to let their body recoup from all of its energy expenditure before getting up again!
Step #3. If possible, stick to the person’s asthma treatment plan.
If you can, follow the person’s asthma plan. If there isn’t one yet and they have been prescribed an individualized action from their doctor’s office or specialist clinic to treat this condition, do so as directed to help them breathe easier!
Step #4. Give first aid to asthma patients
For an adult, follow directions for helping out in Acute Asthma Attack Treatment with these medications and techniques that effectively relieve symptoms of this dangerous respiratory condition! For children, it’s essential to know how to use inhalers so they can get back on track quickly after being diagnosed as having life-threatening allergies or breathing problems due to their young age.
Step #5. When it’s safe, resume your activity.
It’s essential to resume exercise when the person can breathe easily and is symptom-free. If symptoms return, repeat treatment until they are gone again before continuing any physical activity. It includes sports or other forms like yoga which may be more strenuous than something less rigorous such as walking upstairs slowly while watching TV at home with family!
Step #6. It’s wise to do a Follow up:
If you are experiencing an asthma attack, it is essential to call the doctor immediately. If symptoms do not improve with treatment or if they become worse. Then contact your parents for advice on what else might be causing them and how best to handle this issue before taking more drastic measures such as medication overuse headache (GORD). There are also other ways that children can get help when having their first fit of coughing in hopes of preventing future episodes:
1) notify school nurses about any suspected cases
2) always carry rescue meds like fast-acting inhalers
3) don’t leave kids alone during exercise
4) only let them begin a workout if their lungs are clear
5) remind kids to stay hydrated with water before, during, and after exercise. Know that these symptoms will go away as soon as possible.
Knowing the warning signs of exercise-induced asthma can save your life or another person’s life! Contact your doctor if you have concerns about exercising with asthma.
Knowing when to stop exercising is also the most critical factor. When you go too far, it’s important to back off and take a break for a while. You can always try again later! Taking your medication at least 15-30 minutes before stopping or beginning exercise. If you don’t want to wait this long, ask your doctor if it’s safe to take the medication just before beginning your routine. Drinking lots of fluids and eating a light meal at least one hour before exercising.
Treatment For Exercise-Induced Asthma
If you’re struggling with exercise-induced asthma, your doctor might prescribe drugs to take shortly before activity or as a daily preventative measure for long-term control.
If your doctor prescribes a drug that you take before exercise to minimize or prevent bronchoconstriction, ask how much time is between taking the medication and exercising. Some drugs in this group include:
Beta-agonists with a short duration of action: A beta-agonist is the most commonly used and generally effective short-term medication for opening airways before exercise. These inhaled drugs include albuterol (ProAir HFA, Proventil -HFA) or levalbuterol Xopenex HFA. Daily use of these medications should be limited because it can lead to tolerance development. However, they are still very useful when prescribed by your doctor in addition to other forms of treatment such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids.
Ipratropium: Ipratropium (Atrovent HFA) is a medication that relaxes the airways and may be effective for some people. A generic version of ipratropium can also be taken with a nebulizer, which creates more room in your nose to breathe easily through it.
Long-term control medications
Asthma is a chronic disease that can be difficult to live with. If your doctor has prescribed long-term control drugs for you, these medications should help keep asthma under control and manage symptoms when pre-exercise treatment alone isn’t compelling enough!
- Sometimes your doctor will prescribe a long-term control drug to manage underlying chronic asthma or Combination inhalers, which contain LABA and prevent airways from inflaming before exercise. While these medications are usually taken daily for good results, they may also be recommended before physical activity to combat pre-exercise symptoms when other treatments alone don’t work well enough.
- Inhaled corticosteroids are a type of medication that can be used to reduce inflammation in your airways. You’ll want one with an inhaled delivery system, such as Flovent Diskus (fluticasone), Pulmicort Flexhaler (budesonide). They all deliver the drug directly into your lungs without any oral dose necessary. This is supposed to make for faster relief and better compliance than other medications like budesonide and flunisolide because there’s less waste material left behind after each use. Thanks also make them easier on sinuses due those active ingredients dissolve quickly within minutes once they’re released from the device for you to inhale.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Leukotriene Modifiers, can be used to prevent exercise-induced asthma. The medication should be at least two hours in advance. It has potential side effects that include mood changes or suicidal thoughts for some people who use them daily without any issues when taken before their workout routine plans go into effect. However, some side effects usually don’t appear for those who use them as needed. Leukotriene modifiers are not noticed immediately by most users who take them after the fact just because they’re not designed to act that way. So you’ll want to discuss potential benefits with your doctor beforehand if you work out regularly and then determine whether or not it’s worth taking one before or after your workout.
Exercise-induced asthma can be a dangerous condition that can keep you from being active. Knowing how to prevent exercise-induced asthma by stopping an attack quickly is essential because it will help you reduce your energy loss and regain the ability to engage in physical activity as soon as possible!
If you have been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and find it prevents you from performing your daily workout routine, talk to your doctor about how much time should be allotted between taking the long-term control medications and working out. If this doesn’t work after weeks of trying, consider using a short-acting bronchodilator such as the emergency inhaler Wixela or the Ventolin Inhaler before you plan on working out.
Hunterdon Pulmonary & Sleep Associates is a nationally recognized pulmonary and sleep medicine doctor’s office located in the heart of Somerset County, New Jersey. We offer expert advice on exercise-induced asthma to help you avoid it entirely or manage it when you have an episode. No matter your fitness level, we can make sure that your lungs are healthy for any activity! Contact us today at 908-237-1560 to set up a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians specializing in respiratory care.