Asthma fine during exercise but rubbish afterwards?


I had really poorly controlled asthma for a while until I was diagnosed with Addison's a few years ago. Now it mostly behaves itself (on seretide and tiotropium and montelukast) except during pollen season when I need extra oral steroids and regular abx.

One of the fab things is that I can now run even in cold weather. In the past I couldn't even leave the house in cold weather, but now I take my salbutamol 10-20 minutes before I run and I'm fine... until I stop running.

It doesn't matter whether I run for 25 minutes (3 miles) or 90 minutes (10 miles) - it's all fine while I'm running, and then the minute I stop running I start to tighten up and cough and cough. Initially I thought it was the change in temperature and humidity from coming inside, but I've now tried staying outside and walking until my heart rate is totally normal, and it still happens.

I am under the severe/difficult asthma clinic at hospital so I can send a message to my consultant but I just wondered if anyone else has this issue? They're not very severe attacks but as I run 4-5 times per week it does mean that I'm having 4-5 attacks each week, which isn't ideal, and I've had a couple of bad-ish attacks in the last two weeks from allergic triggers, which suggests my lungs are becoming less and less happy.

Any suggestions / thoughts?


5 Replies

  • Hi

    I used to be like this after swimming. Absolutely fine in the pool and swim 1-2 km. Get out and go in jacuzzi....massive asthma attack. Didn't seem to make any difference whether I'd had Salbutamol or not. Decided it was combination of change in temperature and chemicals in jacuzzi but never really got to the bottom of it!

    Well done on the running though; fab achievement. Have you always been a runner? How did you get started?

  • Thanks! I've always done a bit of running - mostly for fitness as I played football in my teens and 20s, but I got into running itself after my asthma became horrible a few years ago. I could only exercise inside and a treadmill seemed the sensible thing... then I really enjoyed it, and my asthma stabilised so I went outdoors and found that I love it and I'm not bad at it :)

    Parkrun really helped to build my confidence, and now I do 10ks / half-marathons. I did a 7k night trail run in sleet last weekend - no asthma til the coffee shop afterwards :)

    I think you're right about the temperature - see my reply below for my planned trial solution - hopefully it might work for you too.

  • hi,

    this is interesting i recently took part in a mini triathlon which involved running cycling and climbing nearly 700 steps i was able to do this fine however afterwards felt very tight even to the point having a drink hurt my inhaler did initially reduce this but as the evening went on my tightness and wheeze got worse i then used my nebuliser and was fine again

    my asthma generally behave during exercise but i cough and wheeze after wonder why this happens.

  • Could be exercise-induced asthma. I get the same issue of coughing post exercise. Just a thought

  • I think luckylouise08 is right - it's exercise-induced asthma. I'd assumed the symptoms for that had to be *during* exercise but apparently (having gone and read up on it lots!) having them when you stop is also common.

    It seems to be related to histamine release due to changes in temp / humidity - both of which I'm sensitive to.

    I'm already on montelukast (which can help EIA) so I'm going to ask my GP if she will ask my respirologist if I can try an Intal inhaler before exercise. The other option would be to split my double montelukast dose from 2 at night to one every 12 hrs, as it will be wearing off by the time I run most days.

    If they're in agreement, I'll do a month trial of Intal (only for exercise) and then a month trial of splitting my montelukast, and see which works better.

    Thanks for the help - I'll let you know which one works out best!

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