Thursday, August 27, 2009

General Health Topic - Exercise Induced Asthma

Hello everyone,

Does this ever happen?.... you go to the gym and within a few minutes of starting your workout you are extremely tired or short of breath? Do you experience chest tightness, wheezing or coughing when you exercise? The first thing you may be thinking is wow, I need to get into better shape! If you do, you might have exercise induced asthma (EIA).

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) brochure to help educate patients, approximately 20 million Americans have EIA. Their airways may be overly sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, especially colder, drier air. While exercising, many people start breathing through their mouths, bypassing the warm moist nasal passages which allows colder, less humid air to reach the lungs.

To know for sure if you have EIA or even a chronic asthma condition, you need to see your physician to get tested. If positive for EIA, work out a treatment plan with your physician and pharmacist. There are many treatments that are effective in controlling EIA.

Inhaled medications taken prior to exercise are helpful in preventing or controlling EIA. The medication of choice is a short-acting bronchodilator spray used 15 minutes before exercise. These medications, which include albuterol and levalbuterol are effective in the majority of patients. They work quickly and last for up to four to six hours. These inhalers can also treat EIA symptoms after they occur.

If symptoms are not readily controlled by medications, patients should talk to their physician.

A severe asthma attack is a medical emergency and if EIA symptoms cannot be controlled, more rescue medications may be needed. An "Epi-pen" (epinephrine injection) and emergency supplemental oxygen are items that should be available.

Enjoy your workout.

Dr. Paul

No comments: