Bronchospasm Induced by Exercise




     Similar to asthma, exercise induced bronchospasm (asthma), EIA, is a condition that produces many of the same symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.  It typically strikes during or after vigorous exercise.  However, sometimes the symptoms can occur both during the activity and 10 to 15 minutes after the exercise has stopped.

     EIA is caused when the smooth muscles around the bronchial tubes constrict.  This causes spasms of the bronchial tubes (airways) and causes the lungs to produce extra mucous.

     People with EIA may experience fatigue during exercise resulting in poor athletic performance.  The severity of symptoms varies with the individual, the intensity and the kind of exercise, along with the level of pollen or other airborne pollutants.

     About 15% of the population is affected by exercise-induced asthma with running being the activity most likely to trigger an episode.  EIA can hit people at any age, but seems most common in children.  Having EIA doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise.  With proper treatment, which usually includes taking a medication about 20 minutes before activity, an active life-style, including exercise, can and should be maintained.