Exercise-Induced Asthma Symptoms and Treatment

Bronchial spasm is what is formed at the vast majority of people with asthma and more than 40% of patients with allergic rhinitis. Pathology is formed 10 – 15 minutes after starting exercise and points to progressive worsening of respiratory algorithm, wheezing. The more severe bronchial symptoms are, the more expressed bronchial spasms are provoked by exercise-induced asthma.

General Information

At some patients, bronchial asthma attacks are formed only after physical load. Frequency and severity of asthma manifestations provoked by physical exercise are directly dependent on characteristics of the load. For example, there are such situations:

  • 75% of bronchial spasms and wheezing cases appear when you try to run fast;
  • rarer – at walking and riding bike;
  • swimming does not usually trigger bronchial spasms.

asthmaBronchial pathology is usually formed 5 – 10 minutes after exercise, when arterial pressure increases.

It disappears at rest state, rarer this condition persists for longer than 60 minutes or is forced after physical load. Repeated physical efforts in less than 120 minutes later are transferred easier than previous ones.

Possible Causes

The main reason for bronchial pathology is excessive physical load on the body. However, attacks of wheezing to this forcing are provoked by respiratory tract cooling, caused by lung area hyperventilation. Therefore asthmatic phenomenon appears much rarer when walking or riding bike.

It should be noted that tendency to disease occurrence is significantly higher at women than at men. This is due to specific structure of lung parenchyma.

Asthma Inhalers Online (onlineasthmainhalers.com) experts have also proved that a certain role in disease appearance is given to inflammatory mediators. But mechanism of spasm formation under the influence of cold air is not identified. Consequently bronchial pathology is considered not fully studied.


5 – 10 minutes after sports activities beginning there is a feeling of tightness in the chest area, rapid heartbeat, cough impulses, dyspnea attacks, wheezing.

The described symptoms disappear after 30 – 60 minutes and can sometimes appear not at the beginning of training, but closer to its completion.

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Patient does not know that he has bronchial pathology.

He thinks that he has lost physique, and because of it starts to constantly do exercises. It only boosts asthmatic disease formation and aggravation. In these situations pulmonologists prescribe recovery by metered physical loads. A patient should start with simplest exercises, gradually speeding up pace, speed and load.

Methods of Treatment

Recovery process:

  • aimed at preventive measures against attacks, which relieves wheezing, reduce blood pressure and other symptoms as a result of which body activity slows down considerably;
  • identification of characteristics and exercise duration degree, that causes bronchial spasm, is required.

Proper load that is optimally tolerated by patient is chosen. Pulmonologists insist that to make periods of intense exercise shorter, between them patient must necessarily have a good rest.

It happens that improvement does not occur – in this case, before physical loads patient should use bronchodilators. Pulmonologists insist on using beta2-agonists as metered-dose aerosol components. They should be used 15 – 20 minutes before exercise – so bronchial pathology would be minimal. This is the most effective method of treating such phenomenon as exercise-induced asthma.

Prescribing drugs to athletes who participate in competitions, it must be considered that many organizational committees do not allow using such component as catecholamine. It is contained in such medications as isoprenaline or isoetharine. In such situations, there may be used drugs, known as salbutamol and terbutaline. They are adrenoceptor agonist and are not referred to prohibited catecholamines, and therefore their use is more than permissible in order to reduce wheezing and optimize respiratory process.

More Information about Treatment

In certain situations, cromolyn is effective. It is used, at average, 30 minutes before physical activity as metered aerosol (optimal amount is 1600 mcg). Also this means may be used as powder composition for inhalation (20 mg). It should be noted that:

  • before using cromolyn, particularly for the first times, pulmonologists prescribe inhalations by adrenoceptor agonist components;
  • cromolyn is used when it is impossible to take other preparations for relieving bronchial asthma provoked by physical exercise and having forced wheezing.
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Much less effective is ipratropium bromide. Bronchial pathology suggests the following algorithm of use: 1 – 2 aerosol inhalations in allowed dosage 15 – 30 minutes before physical load. Patients, who have difficulties with using asthma inhaler, as well as additional measure to specific drugs, are prescribed adrenoceptor agonists or theophylline. They are taken orally 60 – 120 minutes before exercise.

The first few times of using any of described medicinal ingredients must be carried out in test mode.

This is necessary to check whether bronchial pathology and wheezing will begin to disappear. Also this measure is required because of the fact that these means are characterized by forced exposure to lung parenchyma. Therefore, their use can cause harm to the body and must be adjusted during the first day.

Preventive Measures

In order to secure treatment effect, it is necessary to do cyclic non-rapid exercises. This can be walking, running and combined movements. In the latter case, walking simply alternates with running. Systematic increase in the load, permanent health control are required, which has positive effect on endurance development. Be sure to observe the following guidelines:

  • begin exercises with walking, alternating it with short jogging at a distance of 80 to 120 meters, and at the end you need to control heart rate, which should not be more than 160 beats per minute, and recovery period should be no more than 3 – 4 minutes;
  • running distance should be gradually increase and over time change it for jogging and if it is appeared possible, then we can talk about recovery from exercise-induced asthma.

Strength of Breathing Exercises

As a part of disease preventive therapy specific respiratory exercises are recommended, the first of which is diaphragmatic breathing.

  • Lying on your back, you should significantly gather in stomach and after counting 1 – 2 – 3 and make a long as deep as possible exhale, if wheezing is not observed. On the count 4 it is required to inhale with diaphragm, maximally protruding abdominal region. Then, instantly contracting abdominal muscles, you need to strongly cough. Diaphragmatic breathing can be combined with walking and jogging, which will help to restore bronchial patency degree.
  • The next exercise is, while lying on the back, to pull your hips towards the chest. It is necessary to keep hands on shin area and simultaneously perform a deep exhale. Then a patient must take initial position. While performing inhalation as much as possible protrude abdominal region and cough. This physical element is allowed to perform standing. Exercise involves alternating pulling left and right thigh to the chest.
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Watch the video about Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique:


Visitors of fitness centers should take into account that 7 – 10 days before menstrual cycle beginning possibility asthmatic response increases. Therefore it is better to refrain from going to gym and other sports activities during the period before menstrual cycle beginning and its duration. Besides:

  • it is not recommended to engage in physical exercise in the early morning and late evening;
  • from 7 pm to 7 am, pneumogastric nerve – vagus – increases bronchial area tendency to form, forcing mucus discharge and positive affecting bronchial coatings swelling that provokes exercise-induced asthma attack.

All recommendations must be observed by 100%, because, as pulmonologists’ studies prove, if there is a risk of bronchial pathology – even minimal load will be enough. Preventive measures should be implemented just as carefully and correctly as treatment.



Many people believe that wheezing is a natural process at asthma, however they, as well as respiratory insufficiency, can provoke a significant number of complications.

In particular, suffocation, progressive worsening of respiratory process, chronic form of pathology.

In order to avoid all this complications it is necessary to comply to medical advice, strictly follow treatment regimen and not to neglect preventive measures. Exclusively in this case described pathology will not cause inconvenience or danger for life.