Do you sometimes get asthma-like symptoms after exercise, even though you don't have asthma? Well, if you answered yes, you might have exercise-induced asthma.
The clue is in the name. Exercise-induced asthma is an uncommon form of asthma that is triggered by exercise. As with the more common form of the condition, the severity and likelihood of reaction varies from case to case; for some people the symptoms might stay dormant even when they have exerted themselves a great deal, whereas for others it could be that severe symptoms begin during even light exercise. Of course, though, the main distinction between regular and exercise-induced asthma is that, with the latter, the only trigger is exercise.
When you breathe, air is taken in and then warmed and moistened by the nasal passage, but when people exercise they tend to breathe through their mouths, and the air they inhale is colder and drier. In people with exercise-induced asthma, the muscle bands around the airways are sensitive to the temperature and humidity changes and react by contracting, which in turn causes the airways to narrow in the same way that they do in people with regular asthma when they are exposed to their triggers.
Exercise-induced asthma can cause a number of symptoms to occur. The most common ones include coughing and wheezing, but it can sometimes become more severe if you ignore this and continue to exercise. In any case it is important that, if you experience these symptoms when exercising, you go to see you doctor.
For some people, it can be off-putting knowing that symptoms will start once they begin exercising, and so they just avoid exercise altogether. This is obviously not good, and the benefit of avoiding asthma symptoms will generally be entirely eclipsed by the negative effects of not exercising. Indeed, many people learn to manage their condition over time and actually, there are a large number of professional athletes who have developed exercise-induced asthma, as a direct result of their training and competing, who manage to keep it in check.
Adapting to manage your condition is vital, and it can take time to learn how to do so. There are treatment options available and your doctor can prescribe you with an inhaler if necessary. In this case, it becomes a case of using the medication correctly – normally this is as simple as using your inhaler ten minutes before you exercise and then topping up as and when you feel like you need to.
Most illnesses are subjective, and it's the same with exercise-induced asthma; that isn't to say that other people don't suffer with it too, but the way you manage it is always going to be unique. Keep that in mind and be as prepared as you can, and you shouldn't encounter any problems.