Asthma can be a debilitating disease. It can limit a person’s abilities and make it difficult to perform certain activities. However, those with asthma should still exercise. Exercise is important for the human body and is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Those with and without asthma may find it difficult to breathe during exercise. This difficulty classifies as Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB).

EIB occurs when the tubes that bring air in and out of the lungs narrow during exercise. This makes in difficult to breathe and causes symptoms such as: wheezing, cough, shortness of breath, a tight chest, and even chest pain. Those with asthma may experience worse asthma symptoms when exercising, although some people with EIB do not have asthma. People with allergies can also experience trouble breathing during exercise. EIB can be triggered by dry air and low temperatures. While air is warmed by the nose, most people breathe through their mouths during physical activity. This allows cold and dry air to reach the lungs, triggering asthma symptoms.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you are struggling during physical activity and believe it might be EIB, it is important to seek a diagnosis and treatment. Schedule a visit with your primary physician or your allergist. They will likely perform a breathing test (spirometry) and follow up with an exercise challenge test. This will allow you and your allergist to develop a treatment plan that works best for you. Your allergist may suggest different forms of physical activity. For example: swimming exposes you to warm and moist air, which will likely not trigger asthma symptoms. Also, sports that require short bursts of energy, such as baseball, are less likely to cause symptoms.

The allergists at National Allergy & ENT are experienced in assisting those with EIB and asthma to create a better quality of life. To schedule an appointment please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online.

Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology