I saw a doctor yesterday and she has put me on a peak flow monitor for a month and given me an inhaler to use when out running to see if I have asthma. Despite my mother suffering quite severe asthma I don't know much about it (she was only diagnosed a few years ago) - are chest infections a symptom? I get one or two a year and catch every cold going around - the colds usually leave me coughing for weeks. After a bout of bronchitis in April I found breathing difficult and painful when out running and am still not breathing as easily as I used to. I'm getting over another cold now and hacking away day and night. I fail the lung function test at work every year too - apparently I'm not blowing enough air out for someone my age.
I've never had an attack or any time when I felt I couldn't get any air in at all - can you have mild exercise-induced asthma without full blown attacks? I'm also a bit freaked out at the inhaler, which I know sounds stupid, but the thought of breathing in a powder makes me nervous! It won't make me gag will it? I'm such a wuss
Or maybe I don't have asthma and just have really small crappy lungs?!
I would encourage you to ask you doctor some of these questions. In addition, here is a good website for some basic info on asthma: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/asthma.html
The Dr explained that this type of inhaler is automatic, I just stick it in my mouth, take a deep breath and hold it for as long as I can. And the pharmacist that dispensed it explained that part again, and said it was a fine powder? Strange. Maybe she meant spray. Liquid sounds much easier!
Ah, scratch that. Just been reading up on it and there are powder inhalers. I'll just have to (wo)man up and deal with it.
Thank you both. I tried the inhaler before a short run today, no gagging, just a mild head rush then a nice easy run. It definitely made a difference! I was skeptical at first but now I realise breathing shouldn't have been so hard. Already looking forward to the next run.
First, read and follow the advice on the medicine. For example, powder inhalers generally require a gargle of water or mouthwash after use. And if it says to use the medicine regularly (like daily) then do so; stopping suddenly can be dangerous. Do you have a spacer? It can make getting the medicine to your lungs easier and lesson the side effects.
I'm sure your doctor told you to keep up with exercise, but culturally it can sometimes be a challenge. A lot of people still think asthmatics shouldn't exercise. But it's really good to keep it up. Just know that now you may want to wear a med ID bracelet and inform any coaches or trainers of your condition. I've been wanting to get one of these: http://www.roadid.com/c/RoadID
I haven't done it myself yet, but there are some special masks you can get that can filter out many allergens and pollutants in the air so that outdoor runs are easier to breathe. Here is an article about running with asthma and things you can do to avoid allergies: http://asthma.about.com/od/asthmabasics/a/Tips-To-Keep-Running-With-Asthma.htm
(not sure if your asthma is exercise-induced only or if it's also allergy-induced... mine is both).
Some studies suggest going vegan can help reduce asthma symptoms. It's worth a try if you're still eating dairy and eggs.
I just saw my usual gp about my repeated chest infections, coughs and changes in my ability to breathe when running over the years and she came up with the asthma possibility. At the moment I am measuring my peak flow morning and evening (it's only day two, so far I hover around the 310/320 mark) because at 28 years old and 5'3 it is a bit lower than expected. I was told to take two puffs of the inhaler 10 minutes before running to see if I can catch my breath any easier, and this morning I felt I could go a lot longer than normal before walking and getting my second wind - I stopped because I wanted to rather than having to. Quite a revelation!
Elaine, I'm proud to say I've been vegan for 6 months now after 16 years of vegetarianism and am feeling great! It seems that if it is asthma, mine is exercise induced as I have never had any problems at other times. I work outside all year round so am exposed to pollen and dust. I always thought it was normal to struggle to breathe for the first 30/40 minutes of running and just pushed through it with the 'It hurts, it must be doing some good!' mentality but it has got harder and harder this year. My gp wants to see me in a month to see how I am getting on and if the inhaler is working. It's early days but it seems the inhaler will help. Fingers crossed!