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Exercise Induced Asthma

Exercise Induced Asthma

Exercise Induced Asthma EIA – Exercise Induced Asthma or EIB – Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction*

This article is a continuation from each description of the Types Of Asthma:-


Bronchoconstriction* – is the constriction of the airways in the lungs due to the tightening of surrounding smooth muscle, with consequent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Bronchoconstriction can also be due to an accumulation of thick mucus.


What is exercise induced asthma? Exercise-induced asthma, or EIA, is a medical condition characterized by shortness of breath induced by sustained exercise. Statically it happens 7% to 20% globally.

Asthma medical professionals prefer the term EIB or Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction over Exercise Induced Asthma because exercise is not a risk factor for asthma, but exercise can be a trigger of your asthma.

Symptoms of Exercise Induced Asthma

Commonest symptoms in exercise induced asthma are shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. Symptoms may happen shortly after exercise or 10 to 15 minutes into a longer period of exercise. Symptoms typically resolve with rest in no more than 30 to 60 minutes.

Symptoms of exercise induced asthma occur more commonly and are more severely in cold weather.

Diagnosis Of Exercise Induced Asthma 

Asthmatic patients with typical symptoms during or after exercise, your physician will often make a presumptive diagnosis of exercise induced asthma by discussing your symptoms.Most of the time your doctor will not require further diagnostic tests unless your exercise induced asthma symptoms persist, or the exercise induced asthma symptoms are not prevented by with some of the measures outlined below:-

If you do not go through an asthma diagnosis but develop shortness of breath,chest tightness and cough during or after exercise, further examinations are required to make sure the symptoms are not due to some other condition like heart disease.

Spirometry ( is used to confirm a diagnosis of pre- and post exercise induced asthma. Generally, you will exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle until you reach 85% of your expected maximum heart rate. You are considered having exercise induced asthma if your FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume in one second; the volume that a subject can exhale in the first second during a forced expiration test.)  falls more than 10% with exercise. Some asthma care providers may recommend a bronchoprovocation challenge test, but this is not specific for exercise induced asthma. Further measuring of peak flows pre and post exercise are not recommended to diagnose exercise induced asthma because results are often inaccurate.

Further causes of the shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough that may mimic exercise induced asthma also need to be considered. This is especially essential if you have no other asthma symptoms and do not benefit from some of the preventive measures outlined below. Further diagnoses your medical professionals may consider include:-

  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction or VCD (a disorder in which vocal cords do not open as fully as they should when breathing. Sometimes the symptoms may be misidentified(mimic) as exercise-induced asthma.)
  • Heart Failure
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (an in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of GERD)

Prevent Exercise Induced Asthma:-

Poorly controlled asthma and symptoms with exercise and thereafter treating the poorly controlled asthma may be the most beneficial strategy for you.

Exercise induced asthma can normally be prevented using one of the following inhaled medications:-

1) Rapid-acting bronchodilator – Using 2 puffs of a rapid acting rescue medications like Albuterol or Formoterol 10 minutes before exercise may prevent Exercise Induced Asthma symptoms.

2) Cromolyn Sodium (Intal) – Cromolyn sodium can also be used for the prevention of exercise induced asthma and may be used in combination with a rapid-acting rescue medication.

Asthmatic children and adults who may exercise intermittently during the day and are not able to take a medication before each activity, a long-acting bronchodilator (LABA) or leukotriene inhibitor may be used.(

1) Long-acting bronchodilators – LABAs like Salmeterol and Formoterol, are not recommended as sole treatment for asthma, but can be used for exercise induced asthma. Salmeterol and formoterol should be taken 30 and 5 minutes, respectively, before any exercise. Neither should be more often than every 12 hours.

2) Leukotriene inhibitors – Leukotriene inhibitors like Montelukast – Singulair and Zafirlukast – Accolate can be used to prevent exercise induced asthma symptoms in patients who need a longer period of protection or have a problem using inhalers.

Any wheezing symptoms or bronchoconstriction development after beginning exercise or forgot to take medication prior to beginning exercise, this is where your rescue inhaler comes in and follow your Asthma Action Plan –

In The Next Article: we shall discuss about Occupational Asthma – under the Types Of Asthma

The above information are provided by  are not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your Doctor or health care provider for advice about your specific Asthma medical condition.

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