The benefits of regular exercise are innumerable, such as improved mood, improved sleep, stabilized blood sugar levels, stronger bones and muscles, etc. However, if you are wheezing, coughing, or feeling tightness in your chest during exercise, you should visit your doctor to diagnose the problem.
You could be suffering from exercise-induced asthma (also known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction). While EIA often occurs in people with asthma, about 11% of the general population without this condition can suffer from EIA. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to treat and prevent it.
How is it Diagnosed, and How is it Treated?
To diagnose EIA, your doctor will ask about symptoms and then run a spirometry test. During this test, you'll breathe into a tube attached to a spirometer, which measures how well your lungs work during physical activity.
If you do end up having EIA, then your doctor might recommend the use of an inhaler with a bronchodilator medication. These medications relax and open up the airway. Inhaled corticosteroids can also be an option, as they reduce swelling in the airway. Along with medications, your doctor may recommend that you meet with a sports medicine professional, like a physical therapist. These professionals can help you come up with a safe exercise plan and educate you on when you should be taking certain medications before and after exercise routines.
How Can You Prevent EIA Symptoms?
Graded exercise therapy can be beneficial for people with EIA. During this type of therapy, you start out with slow, low-impact activity and gradually increase the intensity over time as your stamina increases. A sports medicine professional can help you set up a graded exercise program. A therapist might have you start off with something like yoga since it is low impact and focuses on breath control. Light water aerobics can also be a good starting point, as the humid air of the pool area is less likely to irritate the lungs compared to cold outdoor air.
Other tips to prevent symptoms include:
- Warming up and cooling down before and after your workout routine
- Checking the air quality and pollen index before exercising outside
- Wearing scarves or a mask with a filter if you must exercise outside
- Breathing through your nose instead of your mouth during activity
You should put together a bag with your inhaler for quick access during activity. If you exercise at school or at a club, you may want to let teachers know so that they can help you with low-impact modifications and can provide help should you need it.
While EIA can't be cured, it can be managed so that you can still enjoy physical activity. For more information, contact a company like Raindrop Health & Wellness Institute.