Believe it or not, some people experience the respiratory ailment of asthma only when they do in fact exercise.(1) This strain is known as, simply, exercise-induced asthma. For other asthma sufferers, exercise can make the condition worse. So the bottom line is it depends on the asthma sufferer; for some, exercise can indeed help, but for others, it is something to be avoided.
Since exercise can also help sufferers fight asthma by strengthening their lungs and maintaining body weight, it’s worth learning ways to mitigate the asthma-inducing aspects of physical exertion. For example, if the temperature outside is cold, wearing a surgical mask can warm the air that is breathed in and out during a brisk walk, thus reducing the likelihood of asthma first-phase breathing difficulties.
There are also a number of medications—Cromolyn (a.k.a. Intal) and Nedocromil (a.k.a. Tilade)–that can be taken to treat exercise-induced asthma. On the natural side, lycopene and beta-carotene, a pair of antioxidants found in many different fruits and vegetables, have also been found to be helpful in mitigating the exercise triggered version of the respiratory ailment.
Since asthma is more common in the U.S. than many other industrialized countries, so too is the need for early testing. Various hospitals offer testing for exercise-induced asthma, known also as asthma challenge testing.(2)
A series of tests is performed on the child while they are connected to heart and lung measurement apparatus. This testing will typically be ordered if a youngster gets dizzy or experiences chest pains after exercise, or just has a general shortness of breath when working out that goes beyond the usual boundaries that come with properly exerting themselves.
At the same time, if at all possible, an asthmatic sufferer is well advised to find ways to be able to exercise. Even top athletes sometimes suffer from exercise-induced asthma, but are able to compete because they have taken the proper, pre-tournament, allowable medications.(3) A shot of asthma reliver before the exercise session and a proper five to ten-minute warm-up session are two ways borderline exercise-induced asthma sufferers can bypass the problem to connect with the larger benefits of physical activity.
(1) University of Maryland Medical Center – Asthma, Retrieved August 9, 2011 from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/asthma-000015.htm
(2) Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – Exercise-Induced Asthma Testing, Retrieved August 9, 2011 from http://www.chp.edu/CHP/Exercise+Induced+Asthma+Testing
(3) The Children’s Hospital at Westmead – Asthma Education and Management Newsletter, Retrieved August 9, 2011 from http://www.chw.edu.au/parents/factsheets/pdf/asthma_newsletter.pdf