First post! Exercise and pain

Hello! This is my first post here, I was prompted by the BBC spotlight to start taking my asthma a bit more seriously, so here I am...

I was wondering if anybody might have some advice on the issues I've been having.

I suffer from what I'd guess is mild-moderate asthma, which I've had since I was a child (now 24) with tightness being the main sign. I'm on Symbicort as both a preventer and reliever, and take fexofenadine and cetirizine daily to control my allergies. I rarely miss doses of the prevention, as my body tends to let me know when I have. In spite of this, I still end up using the inhaler as a reliever several times a week and sometimes most days if I've got a cold. I also use a nasal wash and fluticasone nasal spray.

The main problem comes with exercise - I enjoy it, and would like to get fitter, but most forms of strenuous exercise (outdoor and cold weather is worst, but anywhere can be an issue) leave me with a really painful, itchy throat, tightness and painful airways, coughing and mucus, and what I'm afraid might be the taste of blood in my mouth - doesn't taste exactly the same though.

Obviously, this makes continuing to exercise difficult, and as often as not, even after I've taken a dose of symbicort I still have to stop. The thing is though, the onset is really variable, meaning that I either think I've got a handle on it and I'm doing ok, or that I'll never be able to do the things I want to be able to do.

If anybody has any advice, I'd be really grateful - I'm thinking of going and asking my consultant for stronger drugs.

Thank you!


1 Reply

  • There are a few general things asthmatics can do to make exercise easier. Most doctors advice taking reliever 10-15minutes before the start of exercise to prevent symptoms beginning, rather than treating them when they occur. You may what to check this still applies if you are on the symbicort smart regime. Also make sure you warm up slowly and cool off slowly. It can help some people to make sure the air they are breathing is warm and moist, by covering their mouths with a scarf or something, it depends whether cold dry air is a trigger for you. It mig be that you're more suited to different types of exercise. Swimming (if not affected by chlorine) can be good for some asthmatics, some people get on well with cycling, personally I find I exercise best at the gym because the air is more constant and it's much easier to stop and have a proper rest. If you notice symptoms then it's usually advisable to stop straight away, take your reliever and then not start again straight away.

    It does sound like if you're needing your reliever quite often the. It might be that you need to review your preventative medication. It might be that you would feel better wi a stronger dose of symbicort, or it might be that you'd suit an add-in treatment such as montelukast, but in an ideal world you'd almost never need to use your reliever, so it's worth getting your control looked at!

    I assume if you've had asthma all your life you are used to your inhalers and peak flows and stuff, but it can. E useful to go to your practice asthma nurse to review your technique if it has been a while, she might also be able to help you make an action plan if you haven't already got one to help you manage any increase in symptoms. The quality of asthma nurses seems really variable but a good one can be really really useful :-)

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