Asthma is basically a chronic inflammation of the breathing passages of the lungs. The condition is characterized by the abrupt attacks or periods of severe symptoms that are separated by periods of mild symptoms or there are no symptoms at all. The reaction is triggered by external factors or specific scenarios. Exercise is one of the common triggers of asthma attacks which are called as exercise-induced asthma.
Exercise can even trigger an asthma attack among individuals who have no triggers and do not suffer from the condition under other situations. Individuals with exercise-induced asthma are considered more sensitive to changes in the temperature and humidity.
Causes of exercise-induced asthma
Always bear in mind that asthma has two components – underlying chronic inflammation and periodic attacks. The cause of underlying inflammation is not yet fully determined. It is known that the asthma has the tendency to run in families and some are born with the tendency to acquire the condition. Understandably, exposure to a trigger causes the attacks. In exercise-induced asthma, the trigger is rapid movement of air into the lungs before it is warmed and humidified. This often occurs due to mouth breathing during exercise. The attack is quite similar in various ways to an allergic reaction.
Sports that require continuous activity or performed in cold weather are likely to trigger an asthma attack:
- Long-distance running
- Cross-country skiing
Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma
The symptoms typically start 5-20 minutes after starting an exercise. These symptoms often peak 5-10 minutes after stopping exercise and then gradually diminish. The symptoms disappear within an hour but can last longer. It includes one or a combination of the following:
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Extreme fatigue
- Extended shortness of breath
- Treatment for exercise-induced asthma
Since exercise-induced asthma is considered as a chronic disease, the treatment continues for a long time. Some use medication for the rest of their lives. The best way improve the condition and continue with life is to learn about asthma and what to do best.
You have to work hand on hand with a health care professional. Make the most out of the resources that they provide in order to help your condition. Always follow the treatment recommendations as well as fully understand your treatment. In case of any side effects with the medications being taken, report it to a health care professional right away.
Self-care at home
You have to consult with a health care professional to create the appropriate action plan. Make sure that the treatment plan must be followed to avoid an asthma attack during and after exercise. In case of an asthma attack, the following first aid measures must be performed.
- Instruct the individual to only take the medications prescribed for asthma and follow the right dosage and time to be taken.
- In case the medication is not working, the individual must not take more than what was directed. Always remember that overusing asthma medications is dangerous.
- Avoid giving cough medications since these could not help asthma and can cause unwanted side effects.
- Instruct the individual to avoid using non-prescription inhalers. These contain a short-acting component that could not last long enough to relieve an asthma attack and cause side effects.