Symptoms and treatment for exercise-induced Asthma in St. Charles, IL
Physical activity is a great way to stay healthy, lose weight, and reduce risk diseases. Unfortunately, many people experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath that make it difficult to exercise. This condition, known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, occurs when there is narrowing of the tubes that deliver air to your lungs. EIB does not have to keep people from being active. With a proper diagnosis and understanding of the condition, people with EIB can remain healthy and participate in exercise.
Symptoms of EIB typically begin to occur within five to 30 minutes of beginning exercise. The most common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightening of the chest. Low temperatures or dry air can also exacerbate EIB symptoms. This is because during strenuous exercise, people tend to breathe more through their mouth. The cold, dry air is then delivered directly to the lungs without passing through the nose to be warmed and humidified. Other triggers may also include respiratory infections, nasal allergies, high pollen counts, or excessive air pollutants.
Diagnosing EIB involves a medical history along with a breathing test at rest and an exercise test. If the breathing test is positive for asthma, you may be given an inhaled medication and asked to repeat the test. Patients whose breathing test is normal will need to perform the exercise test.
Treatment for EIB depends on the individual and diagnosis. Patients who have generalized asthma may benefit from regular control medications. Other patients may only need medications right before exercise, such as albuterol.
In addition to medications, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to better control your asthma symptoms. Certain activities such as swimming, walking, biking, and hiking are all great options for patients with EIB. Team sports are also a good option, as they typically require short bursts of energy. Long distance running, soccer, and basketball are all activities that require long periods of activity and may not be best suited for patients with EIB.
An asthma diagnosis does not mean that you have to stop being active. If you are in the St. Charles, IL area and are experiencing any symptoms of EIB, call us today to set up an evaluation.