Today, Monday, January 21, 2019

Control Your Asthma Through Exercise

Just about everyone knows someone with asthma, or has seen someone having an asthma attack. In the United States alone, more than 22 million people are living with asthma. In addition, every day over 40,000 people who have asthma will not be able to go to school or work, 5,000 will have to visit hospital emergency rooms, and eleven will die from the disease.

Asthma and exercise are related in opposing ways. For instance, some people suffer from exercise-induced asthma while for others, exercise can be used as one of the ways to control asthma symptoms. With asthma, the airways get narrow and inflamed, and the person has shortness of breath, wheezing and usually, coughing. This can happen at any time but is most apt to happen when the air is dry and the body is stressed, such as in a tough workout.

There are times when exercise triggers an asthma attack, and this is known as exercise-induced asthma. Many people who exercise regularly, including professional and Olympic athletes suffer from this condition. A study of asthma and exercise among athletes showed that the more athletes sweat, the less their chances are of having an attack of exercise-induced asthma.

Asthma and Exercise Study
In the study, sweat, saliva, and tears were all related to one another and to airway secretions. The athletes who sweated the least had the most problems with exercise-induced asthma attacks. The study was conducted by Warren Lockette, M.D., of the San Diego Naval Medical Center and adviser to the women’s NCAA Division I swim team at the University of Michigan.

According to Lockette, the same protein that forms pores that transport fluids to and from the airways also control secretions to and from tear, salivary, and sweat glands. The positive aspect of this is that exercised-induced asthma can be prevented by athletes taking extra care to be sure that they stay hydrated, and by controlling the air quality during workouts.

Physical activity need not be a cause of an asthma attack, but can be used to help manage asthma. In fact, athletes with asthma compete successfully at the national and international levels of competition. The only sport where people with asthma are cautioned not to participate is scuba diving. There is extra pressure put on the lungs when you are underwater. 

Confronting Asthma with Exercise
There are many ways to decrease the risk of exercise-induced asthma. First of all, make sure that you are taking all of the medications you are supposed to take and using your inhaler according to the instructions given by your doctor. Do all exercises prescribed by your doctor and get any advice he or she can offer to help the situation.

Some of the precautions you need to take to prevent exercise-induced asthma are much the same as ordinary preparations anyone who exercises would take. Among these are making sure to warm up slowly and not start out too hard too fast. Taking proper time to cool down near the end of the workout is also essential. For instance, if you are a runner, take time to cool down by slowing to a jog and then a walk before stopping.

Another essential for asthma and exercise is to make sure that you are prepared in the event that you do have an episode of exercise-induced asthma. You should have a plan prepared in advance just in case this happens. People who have not thought ahead can get control of the situation by taking puffs through their inhaler of blue asthma relief medication. Take several breaths in-between puffs.

If you do have an exercise-induced asthma attack, do not resume exercising until you are 100% sure it has passed and all symptoms have completely disappeared. You should make sure to see your doctor and to take off at least 24 hours before resuming exercise of any kind.

In order for asthma and exercise to be successful, you need to know when not to exercise as well as when to exercise. Always take a peak flow meter reading before exercising and if it is below 80%, don’t exercise that day. Also don’t go out if you have the flu or a cold. Take all necessary precautions and don’t give up on exercising just because you have asthma.

Asthma and exercise are not mutually exclusive, as many people still think. You can have asthma and compete at just about any level. There are asthmatics who run marathons, and compete in triathlons.

Marine Corps Athletes
A San Diego study was based on the results of 56 participants who were in the Marine Corp and had been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. They were first given a substance designed to constrict the airways. Then they were next asked to take a substance specifically to induce sweating and creation of saliva.

The study participants who sweat the least had symptoms of exercise-induced asthma, while those who sweat the most were able to move the most air through their airways. It was proven without a doubt that dryness produced asthmatic reactions.

This means that in colder air people who have asthma and exercise have to be extra careful because the colder air is, the dryer it is. Special precautions should be taken by people with asthma when exercising in cold weather, such as in the winter. Make sure to always carry a bronchodilator. You should get more specific instructions from your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows that you exercise and with what intensity you exercise.

Even now the implications of the study results on asthma and exercise are not totally known. What is known is that asthma and exercise can go together successfully. Having asthma need not mean having a less active life or not participating in sports.

Having asthma does mean taking more precautions and keeping records of your daily workouts. These can serve as a reminder of what may have brought on an asthma attack and what was successful in treating it. Don’t let asthma keep you from doing the activities you enjoy. With careful monitoring and lots of hard work, you could win a local event or even take the gold at the Olympics.

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