Exercise and Asthma: Could It Lead to an Attack?

Exercise can lead to an asthma attack. Commonly referred to as exercise-induced asthma, coughing and wheezing are common symptoms people with asthma may experience while exercising.

If you have these symptoms, it is important to see your health care provider to discuss the possibility of having exercise induced asthma, and how to reduce symptoms occurring with exercise.

“Asthma is a chronic problem that impacts the lungs and can make breathing difficult,” said Dr. Kevin Keller, allergy and immunology specialist at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “It is the result of constriction or narrowing of the airways from inflammation which can be brought on by an upper respiratory infection, allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, mold, or pollen, or exercise.”

Asthma symptoms can include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Reducing your risk for exercise-induced asthma

Following a few steps can help reduce the risk of having an asthma attack while exercising.

Start slowly

Warm up by stretching and walking for at least 5-10 minutes before you exercise.

Pace yourself

Make sure you do not try to do too much during exercise.

Cool down

Take time at the end of your workout to cool down your body by walking or stretching. This will give your body time to adjust to the decrease in activity.

Listen to your body

If you feel you are starting to have symptoms of an asthma attack, stop the activity you’re doing. Be sure to tell an adult. If your doctor has prescribed you an emergency or rescue inhaler, use it as directed.

If you do not have a prescribed inhaler or your symptoms are not improving after using your rescue inhaler, follow these steps:

  • Inform an athletic trainer, coach, parent or other
  • Seek immediate medical care or call 911

“An asthma attack that isn’t under control during an athletic event can be dangerous,” said Dr. Keller. “If you have asthma, make sure you’re following your doctor’s treatment plan, and that you’re taking your medications as instructed.”

If you believe you may have asthma and have not been treated, see your health care provider for an evaluation. Your doctor will customize the treatment for your specific type of asthma.

Contact emergency services for any type of breathing emergency during a game or practice.

Source: https://shine365.marshfieldclinic.org/wellness/asthma-exercise/