An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, according to the World Health Organization, and strenuous exercise makes it worse for many people. Some people with EIB do not otherwise have asthma, and people with allergies may also have trouble breathing during exercise.
If you have EIB, you may have problems breathing within five to 20 minutes after exercise. Your symptoms may include:
Shortness of breath
Chest pain (rarely)
The first step is to develop a treatment plan with your physician. EIB associated with more generalized asthma is prevented with controller medications taken regularly (such as mast cell stabilizers, inhaled steroids and leukotriene modifiers) or by using medicines before you exercise (short-acting beta-agonists such as albuterol). When EIB symptoms occur, they can be treated with short-acting beta-agonists.
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.
If you cough, wheeze and have a tight chest or shortness of breath when you exercise, you could have EIB.
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 you're your symptoms worse.
An allergist can figure out the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that can keep you exercising.