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10 Signs of Exercise-Induced Asthma

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 28th, 2012 (updated May 6th, 2014)
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Coughing
Coughing

Coughing during exercise can be a sign of exercise-induced asthma, also known as exercise-induced bronchospasm. If the coughing is accompanied by other symptoms of asthma, you may want to consult your doctor.

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Wheezing
Wheezing

Another symptom of asthma, wheezing, can be a tell-tale sign of EIA if it occurs when you exercise. Once you are diagnosed by your doctor you will likely be prescribed a inhaled short-acting beta agonist to take 15 minutes before exercising.

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Chest tightness
Chest tightness

Chest tightness is another symptoms of EIA, but other conditions might also cause it, so be sure to check with your doctor.

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Extremely tired or winded during exercise
Extremely tired or winded during exercise

If you feel abnormally winded and fatigued while exercising, it might be due to EIA. Although, feeling tired while you exercise is normal, especially if you're out of shape, if it's persistent it could be due to asthma.

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Poor athletic performance
Poor athletic performance

If you are in shape, but you find you are not performing in your sport or activity as well as you should be, take note if you feel any of these asthma symptoms when you workout.

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Nasal allergies
Nasal allergies

EIA is especially common in people who have nasal allergies. Up to 40 percent of them will experience EIA symptoms when exercising. Even if you just have a family history of allergies, you have be more likely to develop EIA.

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Symptoms start 5-20 minutes Into exercise
Symptoms start 5-20 minutes Into exercise

If you notice the previously mentioned symptoms during this timeframe, you likely have EIA. This occurs because your airways are extra sensitive to sudden changes in temperature and humidity.

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Cool air triggers symptoms
Cool air triggers symptoms

In addition to your airways being sensitive to cool, dry air, when you exercise you often do more mouth breathing. Mouth breathing lets cold, dry air pass into your airways without being warmed and humidified by nasal passages.

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Certain activities trigger symptoms
Certain activities trigger symptoms

Activities that require short bursts of intense activity, such as basketball, baseball or long distance running may be more challenging. In addition, cold weather sports, such as cross-country skiing or ice hockey may trigger symptoms.

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Symptoms continue after workout
Symptoms continue after workout

If you continue to experience symptoms even after you've finished exercising, this could be a sign of EIA. To be tested for EIA, your doctor will likely give you a breathing test at rest, and then again after exercise. Diagnosing your asthma can help you find the right treatment so you can continue to be healthy and exercise regularly.