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Breathe Better. Live Better.

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Work-outs leaving you winded? It may be something more.

Is this New Year starting as others -with New Year’s resolutions? One of the more common goals made is to exercise more. What is your preference?

P90X? Pilates? Or are you putting the treadmill or elliptical to work with your new gym membership? As you are diligently striving to shed the holiday indulgences and meet your new goals, do you cough, wheeze and have a tight chest or shortness of breath when you exercise? If yes, you may have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma. I want to make sure you can exercise without limitations!

Symptoms

If you have EIB, you may have problems breathing within five to 20 minutes after exercise. Your symptoms may include:

  • Wheezing
  • Tight chest
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain (rarely)

Other causes of symptoms with exercise may be that you have poorly controlled nasal allergies, vocal cord issues or you are just out of shape (my nice term for that is “deconditioned”).

Triggers

  • Low temperatures
  • Dry air
  • Air pollutants
  • Allergens
  • Respiratory infections

Diagnosis

Wheezing or tightness in your chest can be serious, so it is recommended you see a physician about your symptoms.

Your physician can help you by:

  • Getting your health history
  • Doing a breathing test (called spirometry) at rest
  • Doing a follow-up exercise challenge test

Treatment

One of the first steps to controlling EIB is finding the right help. An allergist/immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, is an internist or pediatrician with at least two years of advanced training in allergic diseases and asthma. An allergist is also certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. An allergist can help figure out the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that can keep you exercising without limitation.

EIB, associated with more generalized asthma, is prevented with controller medications taken regularly or by using medicines before you exercise (ie albuterol).

In addition to medications, warm-ups and cool-downs may prevent or lessen EIB symptoms. You may want to limit exercise when you have a viral infection, temperatures are low or pollen and air pollution levels are high. An allergist can help develop a specific treatment plan for you.

Healthy Tips

Walking, leisure biking, swimming and hiking are good sporting activities for people with EIB. Cold weather activities such as cross-country skiing and ice hockey, as well as sports that require short bursts of high energy are more likely to make your symptoms worse.

Breathe Better. Live Better.

The right care can make the difference between suffering with an allergic disease and feeling better. By visiting an allergist, you can expect an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan that works and educational information to help you manage your disease.

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