Asthma and Exercise
What is asthma?
Asthma involves chronic (long term) inflammatory disorder of the airways; breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest are associated with this condition.
The airways become narrow which disrupts and obstructs airflow. This narrowing can be reversed either spontaneously or with treatment.
The narrowing of the airways caused by:
– Swelling of the inside lining of the airways
– Increased mucus production combined with inflammation
– Tightening of the muscle around the airways.
How is Asthma Managed?
Generally usually taking daily relievers or controllers that will reduce inflammation process associated with asthma and will relieve tightening of the muscles.
Tightening of the muscles around the bronchioles (airways) during exercise is common, which is when preventers are most effective.
How does Exercise benefit people with Asthma?
The research suggests that people with asthma tend to limit their physical activity to avoid the exercise induced symptoms that asthma causes. If you control you asthma well, then you can perform any exercise activity and is significantly helpful to people with asthma.
Exercise will not only decrease the rate at which the medication is used on a daily basis, but by increasing aerobic capacity lung capacity increases which will decrease the maximum oxygen taken in by the body during exercise. This will improve your breathing and decrease stress on the bodies physiological response to exercise.
What is important when people with asthma exercise?
Taking pre-exercise medication to reduce risk of attack during exercise session.
Depending on the fitness level of the patient will determine what intensity the exercise will start at, however EP’s never take a chance with a patient’s condition; thus they will start off slow and determine your level of capacity.
If possible swimming can be performed by the patient. This will improve breathing control but also increase lung capacity which is critical for asthma patients.