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Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm (Introduction)
Many athletes complain of breathing problems during exercise. Some problems can
occur under any circumstances; some are specific to exercise.
Good treatment for exercise-induced bronchospasm is available.
Exercise-Induced Asthma, Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm (EIB)
Many people suffer from asthma, or spasm of the air passages. The classic
definition of asthma used to be “reversible airway obstruction,” implying that
the spasm or obstruction of the air passages could be helped with medicines. The
extent to which a lung problem could be reversed with medication reflected the
degree of spasm.
Modern thinking has it that in addition to pure spasm, some
mucous-producing obstruction is involved.
It is now known that some effects of asthma on lung
function are irreversible in patients with long-standing disease.
Many individuals are aware that wheezing is the
hallmark symptom of asthma. Cough, however, is the most common feature of this
problem. Chest tightness is a frequent symptom.
Asthma shares the gene that predisposes a person to hay fever, allergic rhinitis
(a nose condition), eczema (a skin condition), and migraine. When one or more of
these medical problems runs in your family, you are more likely to have asthma,
especially asthma made worse by allergies.
Many people have asthma as a child and “grow out of it.” Others have mild
symptoms related to their underlying tendency toward asthma—they may be aware
that they wheeze only with a cold or the flu, or that their colds last longer
than other people’s.
Cold, exercise, dry air, and pollution are other factors that tend to bring on
or worsen asthma. A cyclist often faces one or more of these exacerbants when
riding. Many racers have problems with exercise-induced asthma, or
exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB). These terms are commonly used
interchangeably. EIB affects perhaps as many as one-third of all racers and