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  1. #1
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    I think I had an asthma attack today

    So I started racing this season and out of 6 crits so far I've been shelled on 4 of them, including today. I'm starting to get very frustrated with my performance. I train as much as I can, doing interval work, hill repeats, etc.. anything I can to help improve my cardio/recovery. The problem is when I race my breathing gets out of control. I literally cannot breath, my chest starts to burn, and I just hit a wall. Today I started getting tunnel vision (which I've experienced at other crits), and I got very light headed. My chest is still burning and I can't stop coughing. At first I just chalked it up to being new to racing and not used to the intensity of crits but now I'm getting concerned it's more than that. The worst part is that I can't match the level of intensity during my training to mimic my symptoms during racing to try and figure out what's going on.

    Anyways, this thread is more of me just *****ing about my shotty performance today but I was curious if anyone has diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, what were you prescribed, and does it help while racing. I have an appointment with my doctor on wed.

  2. #2
    kuf
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    I have it. When I race I get out of breath, and when I stop, I have constant coughing for awhile. I have an inhailer, but I rarely use it. I'm working on my aerobic endurance to combat it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuf View Post
    I have an inhailer, but I rarely use it.
    But does it work? I obviously need to change and/or up my training to help build stronger lungs but if an inhaler calms these symptoms while racing I'm willing to give it a shot.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    The tunnel vision and lightheaded feeling aren't normal. Some coughing after a hard effort ("pursuiters' cough") is.

    I suggest going to the doctor if you have a good one. You can get asthma tests, and they can (at least in some cases) tell if you have asthma even if they are not stressing you hard enough to have major symptoms.

    I would up dragging my bike and a trainer to Standford to get tested- they wanted to test me on a treadmill but I can no longer run and certainly not hard enough to trigger my asthma symptoms. They had no problem with me bringing in the bike- the guy performing the test was a cyclist.

  5. #5
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that Craig - I rediscovered the joy of exercise induced asthma episodes about a year ago - after a break of ~20yrs. For me it was characterized by tightness in my airways, and constant gasping, a sensation of not being able to suck enough air into my lungs. When I pulled over and stopped riding, the sensation would continue along with some coughing for quite some time afterwards.

    At the time the symptoms returned I tried using preventative albuterol, but it wasn't providing long enough duration (night time asthma was also troubling me back then), and I ended up taking Advair which got me under control. For me cold air and respiratory infections are triggers, so getting a gradual warm up when it's cold can help. If I go out with an intense effort with little warm up, then I'll get a nice reminder of my underlying asthma fairly rapidly.

    Hopefully the doctor's visit will help. Like Eric says, the tunnel vision and lightheaded-ness aren't asthma per se, but do sound like symptoms of a pretty bad anaerobic state.

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    Member jimbossa's Avatar
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    I have exercise induced astha as well. I play rugby and cycle and definitely need an inhaler when I do either activity. I find that constant exercise through fitness definitely helps to lower the frequency of attacks. It is more noticeable at the beginning of a school year when I've sat on a couch all summer.

    I have not experienced tunnel vision because of my asthma, but it maybe because you aren't getting enough air.

  7. #7
    kuf
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiz702 View Post
    But does it work? I obviously need to change and/or up my training to help build stronger lungs but if an inhaler calms these symptoms while racing I'm willing to give it a shot.
    It's not a preventative medication but an abortive medication. It gets rid of the coughing attack and I feel better. The race is usually over when I use it, so I couldn't say whether it helps when racing. I could take it when riding, but I usually don't since I can't tell for sure that I'm having athsma until the coughing starts, and that starts later. I couldn't really tell whether it helped with breathing when I took it when riding, but then I may not have been suffering from an attack.

  8. #8
    kuf
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuf View Post
    It's not a preventative medication but an abortive medication. It gets rid of the coughing attack and I feel better. The race is usually over when I use it, so I couldn't say whether it helps when racing. I could take it when riding, but I usually don't since I can't tell for sure that I'm having athsma until the coughing starts, and that starts later. I couldn't really tell whether it helped with breathing when I took it when riding, but then I may not have been suffering from an attack.
    There are preventative medicines, I believe.

    Also, a few thing that will make your athsma worse: lack of fitness, cold air, dry air, sickness, and allergies

    I notice my athsma often when I'm sick. If I'm drained from illness, I will go into an athsma coughing fit just walking around. Fun.

  9. #9
    lettin' my freak flag fly otismedina's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with asthma when I was three. Today I race as a nordic skier and cyclist. I take Advair 500/50 morning and night along with albuterol before exercise. Although my asthma is exercise induced, it's worse when: a) I'm overheating, esp. if I've walked into a hot room right after a race b) The air is cold and dry c) The air is polluted, pollen in spring and fall (especially bonfires) d) I'm out of shape e) I'm not wormed up f) I haven't taken my meds g) Extreme exertion. Normally, it doesn't affect me. That being said, I've had attacks when I haven't been on my meds (often not realizing it). Luckily I know when to stop.

    Go to a good asthma/allergy doc. Get some meds. Take them like the doc says. Check in with the doc. You should be fine.

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    Thanks for the input guys, it's encouraging. Seems like I've been ignoring these symptoms long enough. I have an appointment with my doctor on wed and another crit on Sunday. I'll see how things go...

  11. #11
    Senior Member mhamm's Avatar
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    I've also suffered with asthma since birth and also take Advair 500/50 (refers to levels of fluticasone/salmeterol) 2x per day.

    The Dr. will most likely start you on albuterol, to be taken prior to the race. What kuf mentioned, albuterol is an abortive medicine but can really help with exercise induced asthma if taken maybe 30 minutes to an hour prior to a race. Albuterol may subside your symptoms for about 4 hours, long enough to take it prior to and last through a race. If that works for you then that's great, as it's a pretty menial medicine (comparatively).

    If you notice that albuterol doesn't help, you race fairly consistently, and your symptoms worsen you may be put on Advair.

    The Advair I use incorporates dry powder which you inhale. They now have Advair which is delivered with an albuterol-looking device (incorporates gas instead of dry powder). I wish I could use the gas type, but they only make it in 45/21, 115/21, and 230/21 dosages which aren't strong enough for folks like otismedina and myself.

    Advair at lower levels can be very effective with few side effects. The only thing i dislike about Advair is the requirement to take it 2x per day.

    I'm definitely not a Dr. and don't claim to be one, so i'll get off my stand. I wouldn't be worried one bit about getting on some asthma meds if the Dr. thinks it's best- they've made my life 100x better.
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  12. #12
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhamm View Post
    They now have Advair which is delivered with an albuterol-looking device (incorporates gas instead of dry powder). I wish I could use the gas type, but they only make it in 45/21, 115/21, and 230/21 dosages which aren't strong enough for folks like otismedina and myself.
    O/T but the metered-dose inhaler (albuterol-looking device) and dry powder inhaler produce a different respirable fraction of drug particles. Consequently 230/21 is effectively the same inhaled dose as 500/50, that's why you go from the round "50" of DPI salmeterol to the weird "21" of the MDI. Unlike a pill, a lot of the dose that is delivered by the devices is wasted (swallowed) and doesn't make it to your lungs.

  13. #13
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma back in 1999 after having an attack at the end of a 15k race (running). Having been there, I know how scary the feeling can be when the attack happens.

    You need to see a doctor.

    I went and saw a doctor, they gave me a prescription for an inhaler. In my case, there are a few triggers: cold temps (as was the case with that 15k), or my seasonal allergies (oak pollen, yay me).

    You need to see a doctor.

    Luckily, I haven't had more than two or three attacks that I can recall since that one incident. And I don't really think about my exercise induced asthma anymore; I now only use an inhaler when my allergies are kicking or when it's extremely cold.

    You need to see a doctor.

    However, all the advice and other anecdotes that you'll read here on BF are pretty much useless, because those anecdotes are for each individual poster. My exercise induced asthma may be different from your asthma attack.

    The bottom line?

    You need to see a doctor.

    (preferably an asthma specialist)
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Trucker Dan's Avatar
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    Do you use a heart rate monitor? I kind of get tunnel vision and can't think when my heart rate gets within 5-10 beats of my max. I missed a turn in a crit one time trying to bridge up to a break after taking the same turn 10 laps in a row.
    I also experience some chest congestion after very hard efforts. For example keeping my hr at 190 for 15 minutes. I think its normal. I have tried using an inhaler but it doesn't seem to help.

  15. #15
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    to all you asthmatic nerds

    use a neck gaiter pulled over your mouth to warm and moisten (I thought I read that the moistening part was the important component) your breath on cold days.

    Sincerely, an asthmatic nerd
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  16. #16
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    CVS Tussin works to control it for me a bit.

    I don't usually suffer from it, but only mildly on colder days.


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  17. #17
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    I had it as a teen, and I actually used to intentionally have an asthma attack during my warm up for races. The reasoning was that asthma apparently subsides and then does not come back until you go back below the AT, although I have no idea where my coach got that from. It did seem to work, though. Another thing that may or may not be valid is an article my coach gave me suggesting that the following foods aggravated asthma: peanuts, egg whites, bananas, shrimp... basically any foods that I like
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

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    Well I've got some good news and some bad news.

    Good news is I saw my doctor last week and got a prescription for albuterol and it worked amazingly well during my crit on Sunday. I felt really strong the whole race, my heart rate was kept at a much more manageable pace, I was able to take DEEP breathes and recover faster. Best news is I didn't get dropped!

    Bad news is on the last lap some DB moves laterally and takes me and the guy in front of me out. I've got some pretty nasty road rash along my left side and I'm banged up pretty good. So in the end I STILL get a DNF! :facepalm: Ugh... oh well... at least the albuterol works lol.

  19. #19
    Hills hurt.. Couches kill RacerOne's Avatar
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    Glad it worked for you, too bad about the crash, dang.

  20. #20
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    Asthma isn't always bought on by the same things. I always used to be worse in wet air than I was in dry. Fortunally don't have it any more though.

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