Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction - Heard of it?

So, as some of you may know, I am running a 5k this Saturday.

I used to run cross country in high school, and all throughout my career I always felt like my lungs were the limiting factor. I could run for miles at great speed with my legs, but my lungs could not keep up. The same was true in a 6 minute wrestling match - I’d be struggling to breathe!

I was talking to a co-worker about this recently and he expressed amusement at this - most people he talked to, and I talked to for that matter, expressed the opposite; their lungs were fine, their muscles gave out.

So I did some poking around online and I read up about this:

Basically some people get asthma-like symptoms after brief exercise. So much, in fact, that their airways may be inhibited up to 50%! It affects roughly 10% of the population.

A recent study has shown that a large dose (500mg -2000mg) of Vitamin C prior to an athletic event may severely reduce the symptoms.

Anyone ever heard about this? I’m going to try it before my race, can’t hurt, might help!

Crackpot Mercola says yes while science says no but further research is needed to be certain.

Where I coach, our kids take a shot from their inhaler before a workout or race and we require them to have a cell phone and partner at all times they’re running off campus.

Yes, that’s a thing. See a doctor, obviously, and if s/he feels it’s indicated, a little puff of one of the numerous SABAs will get your through your run.

Moved to IMHO, home of medical threads (from MPSIMS).


Just a couple studied I viewed that looked interesting.

Yeah, I know I could go to a doctor, but I’ve lived with it all my life and haven’t needed to - I hesitate to get anything looked at unless I absolutely need to. Pig headed, I know. Save the lecture for when I’m dead :smiley:

I was also wondering if anyone here has been diagnosed with this and how they would describe it.

Where do you feel the constriction? Is it in your upper chest and neck? Or in your lungs? If it’s high, it may be Vocal Cord Dysfunction. That’s a condition where the vocal cords swell up and block the airway during exertion.

You should probably go to the doctor to get this diagnosed. The two problems can seem similar but have very different treatments. You’ll probably need to look around to find a doctor who has experience with these conditions. Most doctors won’t be familiar and will treat it as normal asthma. If you have VCD, that’s the exact opposite of what you need to do. Asthma treatments can irritate the vocal cords and may make the condition worse.

I can’t believe that exercise induced asthma is not well known. Its what I have. I can’t find numbers but my guess would be that the majority of asthma sufferers suffer only from exercise induced asthma.

A hit from my inhaler previous to exercise almost always prevents it.

Daughter had it when she was little. She’d need to take a puff from an inhaler before/during soccer games or running to keep it under control.

Seems to have largely grown out of it, thankfully.

filmore - I feel it deep in my lungs - feels like I can’t get a full sip and then like I can’t let it all out.

I ran the 5k this weekend, and it was a slap in the face :smiley:

I ran it in 26 minutes…not bad for only running Wednesday to prepare - I guess!

The vitamin C worked! I didn’t get constriction at all! Amazing feeling.

I get it after respiratory infections. It usually takes a month for my lungs to behave normally again. I have no trouble getting inhalers from my doctor to treat the issue.

My son had exercise-induced asthma. He’d get mild symptoms during soccer games. He also had reactive airway, which is a mild form of asthma that only appeared when he had a respiratory infection. He was prescribed albuterol and steroid inhalers to use before warming up for a game and as needed.

I have it too.

It must be amazing to not have it. :frowning:

I have had issues with this at times as well.
Making sure you only breathe through your nose seems to help, since cold and dry air is an irritant.

I have it too. Sometimes caffeine helps, and it actually makes me far less jittery than my inhaler. It’s worth a try, anyway.

But don’t you want to know whether you actually have asthma? It may help you figure out how to prevent it (like if it’s triggered by allergies or things you could avoid if you knew what they were).

I used to have trouble breathing playing hockey (esp in cold weather) when I was younger. I used an albuterol inhaler before skating, and that helped a lot. I continued to use an inhaler before games through the end of college. My current men’s league games generally aren’t strenuous enough for me to have any issues.

I’ve never had any asthma-like symptoms outside of those conditions.

I do not doubt that it helped you. That said, “(T)here is no indication currently that vitamin C can be recommended as a therapeutic agent in asthma”.

I may have this too - I build up running endurance very slowly, much more slowly than the “couch to 5k” program would do for example, and lose it very quickly. I gradually went from brisk walks to being about to run for about a 5K duration of distance at a lower speed, like 6 MPH, or faster speeds (like 8 MPH) for shorter distances before having to “walk it off”. It took me several months and I gave it all back after being laid up for 3 months with a broken foot.

I was also born 2 months prematurely, though, so one doctor I’ve seen about it (who gave me a possible diagnosis of EIA and prescribed me an inhaler to use 10 minutes before exercise) said it could be that I just have underdeveloped lungs and that’s that.

Oh well.

It doesn’t seem out of the norm to me for a casual exerciser to become deconditioned after 3 months of inactivity. Very well-trained athletes might not be completely deconditioned by that point, but a normal person who works out a few times a week would be.
If you wanted to investigate this further though you might want to ask your doctor to set up spirometry testing to evaluate how well your lungs are functioning.