Exercise-triggered asthma shouldn't keep you from working out
Tests can determine if you have exercise-triggered asthma.
Nick Boulle is an avid cyclist, but one day some scary symptoms hit and threatened to slow him down forever.
"I was in absolute terrible pain from my legs and I couldn't figure out what the deal was," says Boulle. "I couldn't even get myself to breathe heavily."
He had no idea what was wrong and saw multiple doctors, but no one could figure it out.
"I couldn't finish a simple race," says Boulle. "I couldn't get through a workout."
Finally, Boulle met Dr. Mark Millard. He says Boulle did the right thing by not giving up.
"We have to sometimes do a series of tests and challenge airways to try and understand why something is happening and causing that sense of shortness of breath," says Dr. Millard, a pulmonologist.
After a series of tests, they figured out exactly what was wrong with Boulle. He had exercise triggered asthma.
"In Nick's case, we had to do a series of tests to finally figure out exactly what was the problem, and that also gave us a clue into using medicines that weren't historically used for asthma to help improve his symptoms," says Dr. Millard.
Dr. Millard says shortness of breath shouldn't be ignored and shouldn't stop a person from exercising. He says weight gain is not always the reason for shortness of breath. It's often the other way around.
"A lot of people who are overweight and out of shape are that way because they can't breathe," says Dr. Millard. "It's the breathing that triggered the inactivity that triggered the weight gain."
Boulle's new treatments have been a success.
"I am back to the point where I can at least ride every day," says Boulle. "It's a huge change, and it's much better than it was."
Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include coughing, tightening of the chest, wheezing, unusual fatigue and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with exercise, it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor.
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