Athletic Asthma: the role of the Allergist/Asthma Specialist

I just had a patient come in to my office who is an avid biker. She can ride 100 miles in a day- that’s about 90 more than I can do. She is in terrific shape, but she is keenly aware that into her bike rides she gets a “wheezy sound in her chest” and feels fatigued by the end of her ride- even for a few days. I’ve tested her to environmental allergies and she is allergic to pollens and molds- which are both more prevalent now in the late summer and the high humidity; however, I believe what she is experiencing is what’s called, ” Exercise-Induced Asthma”, or Athlete’s Asthma. It is a common phenomenon that can go unrecognized. Many times weekend athletes, who do rigorous workouts become short of breath or wheeze or just feel fatigued. They think they are just not in as good a shape as they can be, but they may be suffering with this exercise phenomenon. This is more common in people who of course know they have asthma, but it can also occur on its own or in patients that have airborne allergens. The good news is that it is easily treatable with safe inhalers that can prevent and reverse an event. My role as an Allergy/Asthma specialist is to clinically make sure this is the diagnosis and that it is not related to the heart(even in young people, i.e. abnormal heart rhythm or enlarged heart) or the vocal cords.

If you are concerned you can read more about this in my book, Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution (Marlowe 2006). Meantime, if you feel good, just go out there and hit the road…..

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island

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