What is Exertional Asthma ?

Do your asthma attacks coincide with participation in physical activity such as exercise? As in all types of asthma, as the airways tighten, it becomes  difficult to take a complete breath, and the airways produce extra mucous.


The symptoms of exertional asthma include:

  •  Wheezing
  •     Tightness of the chest
  •      Coughing
  •      Feeling tired
  •      Inability to catch your breath

Some activities that can lead to heavier than normal breathing such as recreational sports including:  running, basketball, football, soccer, and aerobic exercise. These can lead to exertional asthma.  Additionally, when the air is cold and dry, activities such as shoveling snow or walking for long periods of time can also trigger an asthma attack.

Other contributing factors of exertional asthma can include:

  •  Smoke or smog
  •     High pollen counts
  •     Having a cold or other respiratory infection
  •     Chlorinated pools or other chemical irritants

Treatment of exertional asthma includes taking medications both on a regular basis and  prior to doing strenuous exercise to limit symptoms and control breathing. Some activities and sports should be avoided if they bring on asthma attacks.

If you are experience difficulty breathing while participating in strenuous activities, you should consult with a pulmonary specialist for a complete respiratory evaluation. Please call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.