Managing Exercise-Induced Asthma

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Being out of breath while you exercise happens all the time.

But for some, it’s more than just pushing yourself too hard.

“If I’m doing weight lifting, then I don’t need it. Mostly it’s cardio. When I do cardio, or play sports or anything like that, that definitely triggers it,” said Albert Mathew, an asthma sufferer.

He has what doctors refer to as exercise-induced asthma.

“So exercise induced asthma is when you have asthma-like symptoms you have shortness of breath, coughing, tightness of the chest when you exercise or when you exert yourself,” said Dr. Thomas Chacko, an allergist. “A lot of times it’s due to the air coming in cause you’re using your mouth more when you exercise. When you normally breathe, you breathe through your nose and it’s humidified so it’s easier for the lungs to take.”

Symptoms can vary.

“A shortness of breath, chest tightness and more than just, ‘I am out of shape.’ These are more like you’re wheezing. Typically it occurs five to ten maybe 20 minutes into the exercise. Coughing is big. Coughing a lot, that’s more than fatigue. That’s probably a sign the lungs are twitching up.” said Dr. Chacko.

It is a highly treatable condition.

Patients are armed with an inhaler and some additional medication if necessary.

There are some best practices for keeping things in check including making sure you warm up when you exercise.

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