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What is exercise-induced asthma, how to tell if you have it

HOUSTON – Exercise-induced asthma is different from regular asthma. You can get it at any age, you aren’t more likely to have it just because you have asthma and you may only notice it during certain seasons.

Additionally, even the fittest athletes could feel the effects.

“Especially athletes at the elite level," said Dr. Abib Agbetoba from Texas ENT. “Those who work out outdoors will typically start to experience these symptoms ... especially when the weather is very cold, when it’s dry and when they’re not wearing masks or something that helps warm and humidify the air that they’re breathing in.”

Symptoms for exercise-induced asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Cough
  • Wheezing

Agbetoba said this is far different than shortness of breath with a cardio workout. The best way to know how your lungs are working is with a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)

“History and exam will give us a lot of information," Agbetoba said. “But what would probably like to do is a pulmonary function test.”

If you fail the test, you may need an inhaler.

Agbetoba said to “make sure to have it close by in case you develop symptoms during or after workouts.”