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Exercise Induced Asthma (Exercise Induced Bronchospasm) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by vigorous physical activity. It tends to affect children and young adults because of their high level of physical activity, but can occur at any age. Exercise-induced asthma is initiated by the respiratory heat an cold fluctuations. Rapid rewarming of the bronchi after the cooling effect of rapid breathing, especially in a cold environment, tends to provoke the bronchioles to constrict. Exercise-induced asthma is common. About 85 percent of people who have chronic asthma also have an exercise-induced component and about 40 percent of people with seasonal allergies also have exercise-induced asthma, Symptoms worsen during the spring and fall. Acute attacks can often be avoided by warming up before strenuous activity. Cold dry air is believed to trigger exercise-induced asthma and therefore people prone to this kind of asthma are advised to avoid exercise in a cold dry environment. Indoor swimming may be an ideal form of exercise because the warm, humid air keeps the airways from drying and cooling.

Exercise-induced asthma is monitored using a peak-flow meter, a hand-held device which measures air flow (how fast air is blown out of the lungs). Patients can use peak-flow meters to measure their own air flow regularly. This allows patients to obtain a much earlier indication of an oncoming attack. Exercise-induced asthma can also be managed by avoiding the offending allergic triggers of asthma and by using medications up to an hour before exercise. Bronchodilator meds help relax the muscle spasm of the airways, permitting improved air flow. Other medications can be used to prevent the lining of the airways from swelling in response to cold air or allergic triggers. Inhaled cortisone related medications can be used to reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways. While in the past athletes were forced out of competition because of exercise-induced asthma, today the condition is manageable in most cases. Exercise-induced asthma is also known as exercise-induced bronchospasm and also as thermally induced asthma.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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