My husband and I were traveling down the road when a commercial came on talking about exercise-induced asthma. It’s a doctor saying something like:
“If your child wheezes, coughs, or experiences pain or tightness in the chest while exercising, these are signs of asthma…”
Me: snorting Bullshit! That’s perfectly normal. That always happens to me.
Him: Er, that’s not normal.
Me: What do you mean? It just means I was out of shape as a kid.
Him: No, it’s not normal.
Me: Gym teachers said it was being out of shape.
Him: Not normal.
Me: But a doctor would have found it.
Him: Did you ever tell a doctor?
Me: I thought it was normal.
I’m 34 years old and just now finding out what the symptoms of asthma are? Did I live in a cave or something?
So, you are going to go get screened now, right? I don’t know that you grew up in a cave so much, I think it’s that medicine (and the knowledge of symptoms for not just asthma) has progressed overall in our lifetimes. I know that I had a couple of classmates who had asthma in High School, but they had accute (life threatening) attacks. I think when we grew up that people didn’t look at a kid being out of breath while running and think to get them screened for asthma as much. The symptoms weren’t so widely publicized, like they are now.
While they are signs and symptoms of exercise-induced asthma, they are also signs and symptoms of plain old over-exercising and getting winded. If they last for 20-30 minutes after exercise has ceased, or if they’re so severe that one is asphyxiating, then I’d more strongly suspect exercise-induced asthma.
Did you live in a cave? How was it decorated? Lovely decorations in caves! Some like the pastoral hunting scenes best. But for me, I enjoy the pretty stalactites and stalagmites.
I was always out of breath when I was a kid, but I ascribe that to not getting enough sustained exercise.
As an adult, however, I have had some episodes of exercise asthma, and I can assure you that there is a big difference between just being out of shape and truly having difficulty breathing. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t felt it both ways, but once you’ve figured out that what’s going on is asthma, it’s pretty easy to spot from then on out.
For me, of course, the biggest key to it being asthma and not just in crappy shape is the fact that using a rescue inhaler would immediately cause my breathing to become normal again. That’s something your doctor would have to check, obviously.
Hmm, now you’ve gone and got me worried. Hehe. What does screening for asthma entail?
My problems seem to be much worse if it’s colder outside. All winter, walking uphill to work had me wheezing and coughing for my first hour or so at work, and my co-workers would say, “You should go to a doctor!” and I’d just say, “Nah, it’s ok, I’ve been like this forever!”
Thanks for this thread. I’m off to Google more about this.
Huh. Damn, now that I’m really middle aged I’m starting to pay a bit more attention to these things.
I ran track and cross country in high school too, and just like SP2263 I’d get winded but my muscles didn’t tire. I’m still active, but have always winded a bit more than I think I ought to, for being pretty damn fit. I can do a 10 mile hike and be fine, running is hard and I can get dizzy from lack of breath.
Y’all are going to turn me into a hypochrondiac here!
Yes - what does testing entail?
When I was in junior high school, I was told I was just out of shape. Everytime I ran I would collapse struggling to breathe, coughing, wheezing and eventually vomitting mucus while being screemed at by the instructor.
I moved to California and had a competant gym teacher who actually helped me get into shape. I could do self paced activities including aerobic exercise for a long time (when I felt my chest just begin to tighten, I would slow down the routine and keep moving) and until the wheezing started in I was fine, I was as flexible as my classmates, I could out lift, both weight and number of reps of any of my classmates, I still could not run without those symptoms. My body felt fine, it was not aching or evenly overly fatigued until I went through the asthma attack. My teacher suggested I see a doctor, did not make me run, but allowed me to find other avtivity that did not trigger the asthma.
Now I am out of shape, but it has little to do with the asthma. Do see a doctor, asthma can kill.
I should note that for many, symptoms get less severe as you age and with increased excercise. I had several life-threatening attacks when I was a child, had a hard time with constant aerobic excercise (like running, but not football) as a teen, and am doing pretty good now as a 20-something.
Nothing too complicated. First, a large-gauge needle is inserted in your fingertip and slid up along the bones of your hand into your wrist. Then the doctor pounds your genitals with a mallet for a few hours. Depending on the results, it may or may not be necessary to drill a hole in your skull. Pretty straightforward procedure.
Well, they made me blow into a fancy peak flow meter thingy for one thing. Here is the Mayo clinic’s page on asthma, it covers the screening process. From what I’m given to understand, it’s not asthma with me, it’s bad allergies, (with chronic bronchitis) bad enough to be treated similarly to asthma, since I can’t really get away from all the things that make my allergies flare up in this area. (There is an oil refinery in this town, that frequently burns off the gases etc. making the town stink like burning tires for days on end. I’ve had allergic bronchitis more times than I can count in recent years, with it becoming an infection more often than not.) I have a rescue inhaler, but it’s not albuterol, it’s pirbuterol. I hate walking in the cold wind, or just strong winds too, it aggravates my allergies and I can feel my chest tighten.
Adding, I don’t smoke either. I take antihistamines every day, and decongestants at least once a day. They’ve tried me on nasal sprays, but had more success with allergy shots, and sometimes Prednisone as part of the treatment for bad instances of bronchitis. I hated Flonase, all I could smell/taste was dead flower water after a dose. (You know the thick slimey water in the bottom of a vase of flowers that you’d been meaning to throw out? That is the smell I mean.)
Last fall Papa T. was having some bad breathing problems (turned out to be an almost completely blocked head, that needed surgery to open up and drain), but they gave him a far fancier breathing test than they gave me – had him get on a treadmill and greathe into a tube or some such. So obviously there’s ways of testing for exercise asthma they never bothered with for me. (Exercise asthma was, for me, by far the less serious problem – it’s the chest-closing-can’t-breathe-race-to-the-ER attacks I get when exposed to some perfumes that caused me the biggest difficulty.)
Strangely, when my asthma symptoms were at their most aggravated, I also had exercise asthma when singing. Fortunately, a few years in heat and humidity away from my primary allergens appear to have cleared it all up (except for the perfume allergy), but I still keep a rescue inhaler around just in case. But it was strange to run short of air singing with the chorus I was performing with in those days, although I was amused at how strange my doctor found it – he apparently has no idea how good singing can be for the lungs.
I just went to the doctor for this and what most doctors do is just give you a sample inhaler and tell you to try it before exercise and see if it makes a difference. The doctor I saw says that usually with exercise induced asthma, your chest feels tight making it difficult to breathe. If you’re just breathing really hard but your chest doesn’t hurt, that’s atypical.
I’ve used my inhaler a couple of times (OK, really just once) but I didn’t see it making much of a difference. I exercise a lot and for any intense, high cadence pieces I completely run out of breath, way before any of my team mates and I also sound really wheezy and have difficulty catching my breath but my chest isn’t tight (hurts a littel from the panting but doesn’t feel tight). Wheezing has a medical definition that’s different from what the lay-man would call wheezing, so the doc said what I had wasn’t really wheezing.
So, the whole thing was much less conclusive than I would’ve liked. I did fine on the peak flow meter int he office but I’d be interested in how it reads when I’m having trouble beathing.