Medical Specialties: Allergy/immunology, Family practice, Pulmonology
Exercise-induced asthma is a condition in which bronchospasm, airway inflammation and increased mucus production result from physical exertion or exercise. Exercise is a trigger for asthma exacerbation for the following reasons: During physical exercise, hyperventilation and oral breathing often occur. The air is not humidified and warmed through the nasal passages. Cold, dry air irritates the bronchial lining in individuals who are susceptible to triggering asthma symptoms.
When asthma symptoms are caused by exercise, the condition is called exercise-induced asthma. Normally when a person inhales, the air is filtered through the nose. It is warmed and moistened before it reaches the lungs. During exercise, breathing is faster and done through the mouth, where the air is not warmed or moistened. The cold, dry air can irritate the airways in some people. The airways can become narrow, thus causing mucus to increase and breathing to become difficult.
It’s important to understand having exercise-induced asthma does not mean a person should not exercise. Treatments are available, which may be recommended to take before exercise, in order to prevent inducing any symptoms.