What is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

If you experience shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness during physical activity, you may have exercise-induced asthma. Many people with exercise-induced asthma are completely unaware of it. 

You might mistake the symptoms for poor exercise performance and assume that you’re simply out of shape.

If you struggle to breathe during exercise, it’s wise to visit a specialist to evaluate your symptoms. Allergy and immunology specialist Dr. Ulrike Ziegner and our caring team here at Riviera Allergy Medical Center provide top-quality care for patients with allergies and immunological conditions.

Take a moment as our experts discuss the signs of exercise-induced asthma and how you can manage it without giving up your active lifestyle. 

What is exercise-induced asthma?

As the name suggests, exercise-induced asthma is triggered by physical activity. People without chronic asthma may develop symptoms only when engaging in physical activity. 

When you exercise, your nasal passages warm up the air you inhale. If you breathe through your mouth during exercise, you inhale dry, colder air.

In exercise-induced asthma, the airways are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity of inhaled air. As a result, the muscle bands around the airways narrow and contract, causing symptoms.

Warning signs and symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include:

The intensity of exercise can influence your symptoms. Pre-existing respiratory allergies can worsen your symptoms. 

Exercise-induced asthma and sports

Exercise-induced asthma symptoms typically develop within 5-20 minutes of starting physical activity. It can also occur within 5-10 minutes of stopping exercise. 

The type of physical activity that triggers exercise-induced asthma is different for everyone. For some people, short periods of physical activity trigger symptoms, while others may experience symptoms during prolonged exercise.

With the right treatment, most people with exercise-induced asthma can lead an active lifestyle and participate in their chosen physical activities. 

Managing exercise-induced asthma

Visiting us at Riviera Allergy Center is the first step in effectively managing exercise-induced asthma. The goal is to control your symptoms so you can maintain normal physical activity. Dr. Ziegner creates individualized treatment plans for her patients who have exercise-induced asthma. 

Your exact treatment plan will depend on the results of a comprehensive evaluation that takes into consideration the severity and characteristics of your symptoms, medical history, and whether you also have respiratory allergies.  

Exercise-induced asthma is commonly managed with inhaled medications taken before physical activity. These are typically short-acting beta-2 agonist inhalers, which, when taken before exercise, help keep the airways open.

Longer-acting inhalers may be necessary if you have persistent symptoms. Dr. Ziegner monitors you to ensure that your treatment is working.

Additionally, warming up before you start exercising and taking time to cool down afterward can lessen your symptoms.

If you’re struggling with breathing symptoms during exercise, count on the team at Riviera Allergy Medical Center to help you get answers and treatment so you can breathe easier. 

Call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to book an appointment with Dr. Ziegner. You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.

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