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Exercised induced or what? Advise on next steps please?


I was diagnosed with mild symptoms, aggravated by colds and cold weather, at the end of last year. The problems I was having were sporadic, but seemed to follow a heavy cold which would always hit my chest.

Symptoms improved with ventolin. Until I started exercising, a New Years resolution which I am sticking with I'm pleased to say. The downside though is that I cannot shake the asthma symptoms... persistent cough, restricted breathing particularly when chest down (eg. press ups). The doctor prescribed me a short course of steroid tablets but these have not helped at all. I'm using the ventolin 20 mins before exercising and needing between exercise as well. Anti-histamine tablets aren't making any difference either.

So I have an appointment with an asthma nurse at my doctors surgery on Friday, trouble is under normal conditions I don't have too much of a problem, ie. breathing easier, less coughing. The problems occur when I'm exercising.

Does anyone have any similar experiences? Is there anything I should be asking/demanding that the nurse does? Having read many posts on here it seems that there are things out there that will make it easier to exercise, but first and foremost I have to get the doctor and nurse to see there's a problem. please advise?



4 Replies

Hello Catherine,

Are you taking any regular preventer inhalers?

eg inhaled steroids with or without a long acting bronchodilator.

Please ask on Friday.

These should help - it is better to prevent symptoms that to treat etc



Hi Kate,

thanks for taking the time to reply to me :o)

I don't have any preventer meds, the doctor has only ever given me the ventolin inhaler other than the steroids he prescribed last week. I spoke to an Asthma uk nurse yesterday who suggested that as the ventolin wasn't having any effect the course of steroids should have been longer to try and reduce the inflammation.

Hopefully when I see the nurse Friday she'll listen properly, its hard under normal circumstances as I don't show symptoms to the same effect as when i'm exercising so i'm not expecting much from my visit. A friend of mine who suffers has suggested I take my own peak flow readings, before, during and after exercise, which might help give some weight to the situation.

fingers crossed, I feel a bit in limbo at the moment, kind of undiagnosed but not, treated but not.



I agree with your friend - if you can do pre-, post- and during exercise peak flows that would be most helpful!

A lot of asthma management nowadays should be done on the basis of symptoms, and ensuring that asthma does not impact on day to day activities. This now includes exercise as well - so make sure you stress to your asthma nurse that your asthma is troubling you when you exercise; hopefully she will take this prompt and escalate your treatment accordingly.


As far as what you can do with your exercise I think that the key is to always start your exercise session slowly and gradually increase the intensity as you warm up. Exercise induced asthma is normally caused by the irritation of cold air passing through your air ways before your airways are warm. The harder you work the faster you breath and the worse it gets. Once you are warmed upyour airways will be too so the air will get warmed on the way in and be less aggrivating. Breathing through your nose can help for the same reason though i can never do this when exercising. Less intence exercises or exercising in a warm environment may be better too ie cycling may be better than running so sometimes it is about finding the right sport for you. I find I have to change which sports I do depending on how my asthma is at the time but it all helps to keep you fit and healthy. The other thing is that you might find your asthma is better later in the day so exercising then might go better. Last winter I had a really bad time with asthma and the best I could often manage was some gentle cycling or slow walking but I kept at it and by the following autumn with the warmer weather I was able to win the womens scottish coast to coast race so anything is possible. Good luck!


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