Asthma is a common inflammatory disease of the airways which can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and also pain in the chest. While asthma can be triggered by various elements such as weather changes, smoke, dust, and even some medications, strenuous exercise can also lead to an asthma attack in some individuals.
Exercise-induced asthma is referred to as the thinning of airways in lungs triggered by vigorous exercise which can cause coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. This condition is also known as bronchoconstriction, and the symptoms triggered by it may last for 60 minutes or longer if left untreated.
On World Asthma Day, Dr Manoj Goel, director, pulmonology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram shares a few tips which can help deal with the condition.
When to see a doctor:
The symptoms of asthma can be caused by a number of conditions hence making it important to get accurate diagnosis. In case your symptoms are getting worse and there is no improvement even after taking precautionary measures you must see the doctor.
There are 90 per cent chances of having bronchoconstriction when you already have asthma. However, the condition worsens where there is more pollution. Factors that act as triggers include air pollution, cold air, chlorine in swimming pool or dry air.
Spirometer is a common test which helps detect exercise-induced asthma. The exercise challenge test, in which a treadmill or other stationary exercise equipment is used to observe and assess the symptoms while exercising, is another way. To rule out other disease like vocal cord dysfunction, other lung disease or allergies you may have to take additional tests. A normal lung function test can also be done to detect asthma when a person is not exercising.
Exercise is important to live a healthy life, including for people with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Here are a few ways which will you handle it better:
*Keep your existing ailments in control and take your medication on time.
*Warm-up before exercising is necessary.
*It is advised to wear a scarf while exercising when there is a change in weather patterns, especially cold or dry.
*Avoid triggers of your asthma and other ailments.
*Avoid heavy traffic before and after exercising.
*Avoid high air pollution areas.
*Exercise regularly to stay in shape and promote good respiratory health.
It is very important to handle exercise-induced asthma very carefully because it can be life-threatening. Before going to see a doctor you must evaluate yourself by asking how long do the symptoms last, have there been any recent changes in your exercise routine, do you have allergies or asthma, are you experiencing difficulty in breathing or any other triggers that you might have missed. Exercises are the gateway to healthy life and overdoing it may put you in danger of exercise-induced asthma.
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