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Ask Dr. Salada – Exercise-Induced Asthma or the Real Thing?

Q:  Sometimes when I exercise I feel wheezy. How do I know If I have asthma?

A:  Exercise gets your heart rate up and causes you to breathe faster. This can lead to wheezing if you have sensitive airways, which can become dry and irritated with exercise. Those who think they have exercise-induced asthma, may notice that they feel short of breath or cough when they try to do cardiovascular or aerobic types of activity. If your symptoms seem to occur every time you exercise, you should see your doctor for simple asthma tests that can be done in a doctor’s office. Breathing tests can be done before and after exercise to see if your airways are “over reactive.” If the findings of these tests are consistent with bronchoconstriction, or the constriction of the airways in the lungs, then medications such as inhalers, which serve to dilate your airways, can be prescribed. These medications can help to open your airways and make breathing easier, especially during exercise. Your doctor can help you to determine if you need asthma medication(s) every day or just for exercise. Staying well hydrated also helps calm your airways, so always drink plenty of water during and after your exercise routine. Until next time, enjoy your workout and keep using your Total Gym!

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Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

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