Exercise Induced Asthma--experiences, suggestions

Up until recently the exercise induced portion of my asthma was easily controlled provided that any exercise took place indoors and I wasn't using any steroid inhalers. I generally got on pretty well; though, probably not as well as I could have been. I had a nasty chest infection September that finally went on its way in October. I'm now very friendly with my steroid inhaler and my blue puffer. Between the asthma nurse and I, my pfs were at 580, and in December, I decided to start running (indoors premedicating). My lungs do not seem to think this is a good idea. Within five minutes of beginning to warm up my lungs feel as though they have clamped completely down, my legs have gone numb, and my brain has come up with the brilliant idea that I should keep going. I don't. I stop, use the blue puffer, and walk slowly around. The attack ends quickly but ten minutes later comes back on.

I made an appointment with the asthma nurse to address the issue, but I had another cold when the appointment came round and the regular asthma nurse wasn't in and I could rant about that appointment, but I won't.. .I'm trying to have the exercise discussion with the regular asthma nurse again next week.

I'm feeling like I'm never going to be able to get into good shape. I have lovely dreams of running. I know that you can't give me advice, but I wonder if any of you would be willing to share experiences of getting over the hump and being able run, bike, ice skate. It would help a lot.

6 Replies

  • RJ, subject very close to my heart, and one I've experienced.

    Firstly take the steroid inhaler daily regardless of how you feel all year long, it's the only way. Then 10-20 mins before you wish to exercise take couple of puffs of ventolin, and you should be OK, with a PF that good you really should have better control than you do, and maybe down to the intermittent use of the steroids, and need to give it time to build up.

    I was exercising outdoors and had PF's 380 and as long as I used the ventolin I'd be OK apart from a cough that turned up months later and became persistent. Sound like you do need a chat, but don't rule out colds and things, they really do knock us about, and takes at least 6 weeks before you really start to feel on top of things again.

    Good luck, and being outdoors running or cycling no matter what pace/speed or distance beats the gym any day.

  • Sorry, I should have been more clear. I've been using the steroid inhaler religiously since it was prescribed in September. I'm told the pf is down to playing the flute (badly) when I was young. You have a strong point about colds and my pf is down to 460 still. I supposed colds and their long term effects are something I'm going to have to get used to! It's good to know that there is hope, and it isn't just me. Thanks.

  • It takes a while to learn how you need to adjust to exercising with asthma. I was very active before being diagnosed myself in 2008, and sitting in the chair was a struggle to breath, so you can with patience, and i'm afraid lots of trial and error work out what works for you, but the ventolin before is the biggie, don't forget that, I still use it before even when have PF's that are nearly at my best.

    Gentle warm ups are also advisable (really must listen to own advice!) and do take it easy for a while after you've had a cold, something we all ignore thinking the colds gone, I'm fine and hammer it, well with asthma that doesn't appear to be possible.

    I see you are on Seretide, that should be good, and I use that as well along with our resident running doc and mod.


  • intal inhaler is supposed to be good for excercise intolerant asthma.... not very nice to take if i remember well, like sucking talc powder and it used to trigger coughing spells. that was 25 years ago, you need to slowly build up excercise and take it easy to start with. easier said than done

  • Hey RJ,

    Don't give up on those lovely dreams of running, its so frustrating tho when all you want to do is go for a good run and your lungs just arn't having it, (I used to be a long distance runner till my asthma turned brittle... but I'm not giving up on the idea and intend to get back into it the secound my asthma is better controlled). Deffinetly go back and see if you can see your normal asthma nurse, it sounds like you could do with a step up in treatment, as the aim is to be symptom free so your not having to use your blue inhaler at all, so maybe a change of inhaler might be an idea, either to the next dose of seretide (250) or to a different one such as symbicort, another option would be a drug called singular (montelucast) which is particularly good for exercise induced asthma, you take it once a day in an evening and it should give you better control over your symptoms allowing you to hopefully get back into your running.

    Please don't give up on your dreams of running, I miss mine so so much, your asthma really shouldn't have to impact the quality of your life or your lifestyle and the vast majority of asthmatics should be able to be completly symptom free with the right preventative medication, so maybe a change of meds will help you out. Keep following the general advice too of two puffs of your blue inhaler twenty mins before you do any ecercise and take your time warming up!

    feel free to PM me if I can help

    Ally x

  • Thank you all for your kind words. The asthma nurses prediction of an oncoming chest infection proved true. So at least I know that the current issue is related to that and not a sign that running is completely off the menu before I've even really started.

You may also like...