As we approach the Olympic Games in Beijing, China this week is time to take note if you find yourself "breathing heavy" during or after exercise.This may a sign of more than just good aerobic activity.Exercise-associated asthma can be the culprit; in many cases you may not realize you have this form of intermittent asthma.Symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing during or shortly after exercise are commonly seen.
In the past several Olympic Games up to one-fifth of athletes have a history of EIA (exercise induced asthma).It certainly does not keep these elite athletes sidelined. EIA may be triggered by "oversensitivity" to changing conditions including temperature, humidity as well as air quality, during the workout.
Strategies in dealing with EIA
Hydrate with water before, during and after exercise
Warm up with a decent stretch and light exercise
Give yourself an adequate period for a "cool down" when done
Control your allergies and asthma triggers (especially on high pollen count days)
Check out the air quality index (pollution and ozone levels) before you exercise outdoors
Pre-treat with inhaled medication as advised by your doctor (after your diagnosis is confirmed) to prevent symptoms
Additional info and tips on "exercise induced asthma" can be found at www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/exerciseinducedasthma.stm.
Dr. Clifford W. Bassettis an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.