What Is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

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What Is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) affects an estimated 12-15% of people, making it a common challenge for many. Symptoms may range from mild and short-lived to severe and long-lasting. The condition makes staying in shape challenging or even impossible. Regardless of the specifics, proper EIA treatment can help.

With her team in Valencia, California, Dr. Maricar Cutillar-Garcia provides customized asthma care to ensure your health and vitality.

If you’ve been diagnosed with EIA or suspect you may have it, read on to learn more about the condition. 

Exercise-induced asthma basics

When you have exercise-induced asthma, rigorous physical activity triggers respiratory challenges. The exercise causes your white blood cells to release histamine, which leads to narrowed or compressed airways — similar to how your body would react to an environmental or food allergen

Also known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or sports-induced asthma, EIA can develop alongside typical asthma or as your only form of the disease. About 90% of people with EIA have both.

Exercise-induced asthma symptoms

When you’re prone to EIA, your symptoms are likely to start during or shortly after exercise. Once your asthma flares up, symptoms may last for an hour or longer without treatment.

Asthma from exercise symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Coughing
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Fatigue during or after exercise
  • Poorer than expected athletic performance
  • Prolonged exercise recovery time
  • Shortness of breath or labored breathing
  • Wheezing

It is common for children with exercise-induced asthma to avoid exercise. If your child complains about gym class or loses interest in their previously favorite physical activity, EIA may be to blame.

Treatment for exercise-induced asthma

Having exercise-induced asthma doesn’t mean you must give up exercise or your favorite sport. The prognosis for EIA with appropriate treatment is excellent.

Once diagnosed, your personalized treatment plan aims to improve your health and quality of life.

Depending on your symptoms and overall health, our team may recommend:

  • Asthma medication — short- or long-acting
  • Breathing techniques, such as focusing on mouth (versus nose) breathing
  • Limiting potential triggers, such as cold or dry air, chlorine, fresh paint, and air pollution
  • Tweaks in your activity choices

Dr. Cutillar-Garcia can also help you create an emergency treatment plan for sudden asthma attacks.

To learn more about exercise-induced asthma or get started with the treatment you need, call our office or book an appointment through our website today. Our team is available to help, and our doctor has over 25 years of experience improving EIA symptoms.