Exercise-induced asthma is a problem that develops in 70-90% of patients diagnosed with asthma, and also develops in 10% of patients without asthma. Athletes who train or compete in cold air have the highest chance of having this condition. When you exercise, you breathe faster and deeper. You are also more likely to breathe in through your mouth instead of your nose. Air that passes through your nose gets warmed up and gains moisture to make it more compatible with your already warm and moist lungs. When you breathe through your mouth, the air remains cold and dry. This causes your airways to tighten during or shortly after exercise, which makes it harder to breathe.
Symptoms usually begin when you start exercising. Your symptoms may get worse 5-10 minutes after you stop exercising, and then go away after 30 minutes of resting. Some of the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Exercise-induced asthma can make it difficult to participate in sports or go about your daily activities. Some ways you can reduce your exercise-induced asthma symptoms include:
- Warming up before you exercise
- Exercise slowly for the first 10-15 minutes
- Avoid exposure to air pollution and allergens (these can irritate your airway)
- Wear a mask or scarf wrapped around your nose and mouth when exercising in cold weather to keep the air warm and moist
The specialists at Columbia Allergy can help you to manage your exercise-induced asthma through the use of medications to keep your airways open so that you can participate in the activities you love. If you are suffering from exercise-induced asthma, call your nearest location or schedule an appointment online today!