Anyone else have Exercise-Induced Asthma?

I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma around the time I began C25k back in February. I didn't even know there was such a thing. I don't have asthma at all at rest but only if exposed to exercise (and cold air). The diagnosis was actually a great blessing really. I am now powered by asthma medication (brown, green and blue inhalers) and after fifty years of not being able to run I now can. I spend my runs thinking, "I can't believe I'm doing this!"

Anyway, I'd be interested in hints and tips from others with experience of it. And I have two questions.

1) As I get fitter, could my lung capacity potentially improve to the point at which I no longer have exercise-induced asthma?

2) How do I separate out what is asthma from what is being out of breath from running like everyone can be? At the Parkrun on Saturday I started coughing a lot just after half way so walked for a few seconds and took a puff of Ventolin. I then stopped coughing and ran the rest of the way (to a PB!) So I know the cough is asthma but otherwise I find it hard to differentiate.

Cheers.

7 Replies

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  • I can't help you specifically, but this topic has been mentioned before, so doing a search within Health Unlocked and also on the wider net, will almost definitely get you some results.

  • hello.... I can offer a tiny bit of help in that I am asthmatic but I have had it all my life.

    1. I have found that as time has gone on my breathing has become much better with running, but for me, I will always have asthma and i dont know enough about exercise induced.

    2. Mine is triggered alot by anxiety when running as pushing yourself increases stress levels. I do a lot of relaxation on a run, deep breathing, calm music and visualisation. When I do intervals I get really out of breath but when its my asthma I get a deep wheeze and a tightness so I have got to know the difference. Experience in running will help you get to know your own body and its needs.

    I hope that helps a little?

  • Ok so I have post viral bronco spasm , exacerbated by running in the cold. I too have loads of inhalers. I struggle with knowing what is fitness from what asthma types symptoms .

    I have been on treatment a couple of months, but was told it would take up to six months before things would improve and they will apparently. I was advised to keep running gently, don't push it and don't miss the medication as it important the lungs don't scar

    So that's me and what I am doing , this mimics excercise induced asthma different route cause but similar in terms is symptoms and treatments

    Any use !!!!. I do much better running in a gym, but who likes that.

  • Sorry Anne, I can't offer any advice but I would just like to ask you what your symptoms were. I think I may have this but feel a bit silly going to go cos I get breathless when running or in the cold.

  • Hi Lornia

    People with "proper" asthma can be tested at rest using a peak flow meter. Exercise-induced asthma, more properly called exercise-induced bronchospasm won't show up at the GP's surgery (unless you ran there I suppose!), so the way they test for it seems to be basically start you on inhalers and see if they make any difference.

    My symptoms are breathlessness when running, obviously, but not just average breathlessness. I sound wheezy for one thing and feel as though I can't get "on top of" my breathing, which is a sensation I don't know how to explain in any other words. There's a tightness in my chest. Also, I cough and would continue to cough for up to half an hour after stopping. And I'm worse if the air is cold. In fact even going up a few steps outside in cold weather gives me symptoms. I haven't really had a winter to contend with yet (I only started C25k in February) so I may have to move into the gym when the cold weather comes. On the other hand now I've got the asthma medication I'll maybe be fine.

    Now that I'm using the medication I don't have these symptoms really. I still breathe quite loudly (!) but so long as I'm doing it in a nice rhythm that's fine. When I find I lose the rhythm and can't get it back I walk for 20 seconds or thereabouts and have a puff of my blue reliever inhaler and I'm fine again.

    Hope that helps, but I'm not any kind of expert! I know what you mean about feeling a bit silly going to the GP with this as I felt the same but my nurse-friend encouraged me to do it and (a) he didn't laugh at me and (b) it's made all the difference in the world.

  • Thank you Anne. A friend mentioned I should get checked for it and my symptoms sound very much like yours, especially the wheeze and the can't get on top of my breathing. Think I will get it checked in case. Thanks again

  • Just seen this, my wife may have ria. She started to cough on the later longer timed runs of c25k and would mess her Parkruns up as she would start coughing as she started to run harder, so doctor tried her on ventolin which didn't seem to have any affect, I think there are different inhalers?

    Anyway, the doctor found a swelling in her neck which turns out to be an inflamed thyroid nodule pushing on her windpipe so is currently undergoing tests for this, but doctor thinks it maybe nothing to do with the cough, saying it could more likely be running induced asthma. Which she never really knew anything about. But remembers back to her schooldays when made to run, she would start coughing & gasping, the teacher said, you don't have asthma do you? My wife, young as she was then and not knowing about asthma said no, the teacher said, well, carry on then! Anyway she'll have the thyroid sorted and see what occurs..

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