Doctor's Notes on Exercise-Induced Asthma
Exercise-induced asthma is a chronic condition of inflammation and narrowing of the breathing passages that occur periodically when a triggering substance, environmental change, or activity (in this disease, exercise) is encountered by the patient. Signs and symptoms begin about 5-20 minutes after beginning exercise, reach peak intensity in about 5-10 minutes after stopping exercise, and gradually lessen. One or more of the following may occur:
- decreased exercise capacity,
- chest tightness,
- chest pain,
- extreme fatigue, and
- shortness of breath.
Children may complain they can't keep up or avoid physical games to avoid symptoms.
The cause of exercise-induced asthma is unclear; the source of inflammation is unknown. The rapid movement of non-heated or humidified air needed in exercises seems to be a trigger to set off the periodic attacks. Genetics may play a role as this disease tends to occur in families.
What Is the Treatment for Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Your doctor may use pre-exercise medications and/or long-term medications to treat exercise-induced asthma. Examples of both include the following:
- Pre-exercise medications (discuss timing of when you should take this medication as they are not for daily use)
- Long-term medications (usually for daily use)
You may be asked to keep a record of your symptoms, timing of medical treatments, and results of treatments to design a treatment plan to manage your exercise-induced asthma.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.