Exercise-Induced Asthma Doesn’t Stop Olympians, Don’t Let It Stop You

Exercise-Induced Asthma Doesn’t Stop Olympians, Don’t Let It Stop You

Posted on August 15, 2012 by Barbara Cybart in Introductory Topics

Asthma is a chronic pulmonary disease characterized by intermingled episodes of bothersome or severe symptoms with long interludes of mild or no symptoms. The episodes of asthma symptoms are triggered by aggravating factors which differ from person to person.  Amongst the most common factors is exercise.  When exercise is a person’s only asthma trigger and they do not experience asthma symptoms under any other circumstance, the condition is called: Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA).

Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by the change in breathing techniques when going from rest to exercise. When a person is at rest, they breathe through their nose, warming, humidifying and cleansing the air as they inhale. This process gradually changes the air inhaled into the air found in the lungs.  When a person is exercising, they breathe through their mouth, and the air bypasses the acclimatization process. Therefore, the air which enters the lungs is dried and colder.  The contrast between the air found in the lungs and the cold, dry air entering the respiratory system is so great that it can trigger exercise –induced asthma symptoms.

Exercise-induced asthma symptoms are identical to symptoms invoked by other types of asthma:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Prolonged shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue

To avoid triggering exercise-induced asthma, it is important regularly take controller medication prescribed by a physician combined with reliever medication administered directly before beginning a physical activity.

It is a testament to the effectiveness of exercise-induced asthma treatment that there are so many elite athletes with asthma today. It is estimated that 8% of all Olympic Athletes have asthma.  Excellent examples of this are Olympians: Paula Radcliffe and Greg Louganis.

Marathons are considered to be one of the most grueling physical trials which can be undergone by any person. When factoring asthma into the equation, the running 42 kilometers becomes a seemingly impossible feat, but that is exactly when Paula Radcliffe managed to do. This British marathoner was a 7 time Olympic gold medal winner, and she did all this with exercise-induced asthma.

Though Greg Louganis does not quite match the Paula Radcliffe’s medal count he still has an impressive medal standing himself, with 4 gold Olympic medals and one silver. Greg Louganis, doesn’t run marathons but is an Olympic diver who never let exercise-induced asthma dictate what he could or couldn’t do off a diving board or platform.

Whether you’re an Olympian or neighborhood walker, through proper medicinal managed exercise-induced asthma won’t be able to stop you from reaching your exercise goals.