An athlete will often be given the diagnosis of exercise-induced asthma if they experience asthma-like symptoms during or following strenuous exercise. The reason why this happens during heavy exercise may be due to the need to breathe heavier and faster. As a result, the linings of the airways may narrow and dry out. Furthermore, weather conditions and allergies, such as an allergy to pollen, may also trigger asthma-like symptoms when exercising.

Recognising Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA)

A diagnosis of EIA may be made after an athlete experiences and reports symptoms such as wheezing and a tight chest, during exercise. But this can result in either over-diagnosis, where an athlete may report symptoms but have no narrowing of the airways, or under-diagnosis where an athlete who is asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) does have narrowing of the airways which affects their performance.

There are studies that support these scenarios.  In fact, the British Olympic Teams in the 2012 Olympics found that 25% of Team GB suffers from exercise-induced asthma. And at the 1996 Olympic games 20% of athletes reported asthma upon exercising.

Exercise-induced asthma | The BMJ

Screening For EIA

Exercise-induced asthma can be detrimental to an athlete’s performance. This is because it can reduce exercise capacity and running speed in colder environments. This will not only affect an athlete during training but also during competition.

Exercise-Induced Asthma Treatment

Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies are currently successfully treating exercise-induced asthma. Furthermore, studies also highlight the benefits of adjunctive intervention. POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training is an easy-to-use and drug-free adjunctive intervention, not only for daily training but also as a respiratory warm-up prior to exercise.