Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Exercise Induced Asthma

Initially, doctors thought that this was an entirely different form of asthma, but it is now known that it is common for asthmatic sufferers to have asthma attacks during exercise which happens only during or shortly after exercise occasionally.

These people do have asthma that is triggered by the exercising, however the asthma is not caused by exercising. In other words, the asthma existed in the person before the exercise, however it is a mild case of asthma, which is brought out by the heavier, faster breathing brought on by exercise.

Doctors are puzzled why children get exercise-induced asthma much more than adults and the simple truth is that the majority of adults do not exercise or play as children do.

Increased breathing during exercise that causes cooling and drying of the lining of the air passages can trigger exercise-induced asthma. This explains why warm moist air protects against exercise-induced asthma. Swimmers are fortunate in that, especially with indoor pools, the air surrounding them is moist and warm. So swimming is better exercise for an asthmatic than running or biking.

Exercise-induced asthma can be useful for asthma research and diagnosing asthma in children.

It can be used for testing the effectiveness of new medicines that may help treat asthma in the future.

With exercise of six minutes, a child is often breathing hard and fast enough to bring on a “mild” asthma. This is very safe and has brought on early and appropriate advice and treatment for many asthmatics.

It can cause athletes a particular problem which is why some cross-country skiers wear breathing masks which store some body heat and moisture from the air they breathe out and return it to the air they breathe in.

It is also common that asthmatic professional athletes must be careful with their medications as it may lead to disqualification. However, all the ordinary asthma medicines and treatments used for management are also acceptable to sporting bodies.