Asthma and Exercise

With all the fires that have happened over the last month across the state, our air quality has been very poor with all the smoke in the air. I have been hearing reports of asthma attacks being at an all time high level. So with my first article published in the Optimum newsletter I thought I would give an outline of everything you need to know about Asthma and Exercise Induced Asthma.

Exercise-Induced Asthma is a manifestation of bronchial hyper-responsiveness that results from inflammation of the airways.

How do you get EIA?

EIA can occur in healthy athletes, casual exercisers and the sedentary. The symptoms can be wheezing, coughing and breathlessness after exercise and can be caused through the ‘Osmotic Challenge Theory’ or the ‘Thermal Expenditure Theory’.

How can I be tested?

There are numerous test including the Pharmological Provocation Test, Exercise Test and Hyperventilation Challenge to name a few. All aim to induce EIA through a reduction in FEV1 and peak ventilatory output.

What medications are there for EIA?

There are many beneficial pharmaceutical medications such as inhaled corticosteroids, short and long acting beta2-Agonists and antihistamines. All act on the airways through either bronchodilation or reducing airway responsiveness. Also there are non-medical ways including diet, wearing a scarf around your mouth during exercise and warm-up/ warm-down.

Asthma Information:

Asthma is a long term or ‘chronic’ lung disease that will inflame and narrow the airways. It can cause repeating periods of chest tightness, wheezing, a shortness of breath. People who have asthma have inflamed airways; this means that the airways are swollen and very sensitive, causing them to react to substances that are inhaled when you breathe.

Some substances that can cause an inflamed airway can include such things as animal hair, pollens, mould spores, dust mites, smoke, pollution and chemicals. When the airways react to these substances it causes the muscles to tighten around them, which is how the narrowing of the airway occurs. This narrowing means that less air can flow to the lungs. Another problem that can be encountered in asthma is that the cells in the airways may begin to produce more mucus then normal. Mucus is a thick sticky liquid that can further narrow the airway.

Exercise plays an important role in the control and treatment of people with asthma. Your lungs are just like any other muscle when you work them, they get stronger. The stronger you lungs and bigger your lung capacity the greater ability you have to control your breathing and reduce the effects of asthma. The great news is we are here to help. If you have asthma and finding it hard to exercise, book in and see your nearest Optimum exercise physiologist. We will help you through the process and design a program specifically for you.

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