Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is Exercise Induced Asthma?

Now that I’ve been diagnosed with Exercise Induced Asthma, I’ve been doing a lot of research on it to really figure out what it is and how to not be held back by it.

So what is it? Exercise Induced Asthma or EIA is a condition where your airway swells and becomes narrow. It is thought to occur when your airway cools and dries up due to breathing fast during exercise. Because your airway narrows, you are unable to get as much oxygen as you normally do and your breathing becomes labored. The most common signs and symptoms of this are coughing, chest pain or tightness, trouble breathing and or wheezing. I definitely had all of these symptoms, and even today days later I still have some of them! CRAZY!

Your Dr. may give you a prescription for various types of medicines, they typically fall into one of these categories:

1. Allergy Meds – Allergy medicine obviously treats allergies, which are commonly thought be triggers of asthma

2. Bronchodilators – These open up the air passages in your lungs and they stop your symptoms from getting worse. They can either be swallowed or inhaled

3. Inhaled Steroids – These open up your airways and reduce swelling

4. Leukotriene Antagonists – These decrease swelling and may stop the wheezing or shortness of breath. They also may stop your attacks from lasting for long periods of time

5. Mast Cell Stabilizers – These prevent your lungs from having more swelling
Typically someone who has been diagnosed with asthma or exercise induced asthma can be seen using an inhaler. The inhaler gives you the medicine in mist form which allows you to breathe it directly into your lungs. It gives out a specifically measured dose so that you get the correct amount.

For athletes and everyone for that matter, it is especially important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. There are actually activities and sports that can be triggers, typically sports that are constant and long in duration such as soccer, basketball, field hockey and long distance running. My life has consisted of 3 out of those 4, never really got in to field hockey… But some better activities for EIA include swimming, baseball, football and short-term track. Swimming is especially beneficial because the air is humid around a pool and not as dry. Dry air tends to dry out your airways which can be a trigger for an asthma attack. Thankfully with proper treatment anyone can participate and excel in any sport or activity, but it is imperative to get the proper treatment.

As I said before, allergies are thought to be major triggers, days with high pollen counts, low humidity and dry air can all affect your asthma. In order to be able to effectively control your asthma, it is crucial that you determine your specific triggers, so that you can prevent an asthma attack as much as possible! See an allergist or immunologist to be able to pinpoint your triggers, so that you can be as healthy as possible!

Here is where I got my information and these websites are helpful for more information:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program


  1. I'm still in awe about all of this. Did you see in all your research if it runs in the family?

  2. It can be a hereditary trait and I was asked if it ran in the family, which it obviously doesn't for us... But it is something that you can develop and allergens are the #1 trigger... I guess it's not surprising for me, since my allergies seem to be getting worse and worse!


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