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Old 04-21-08, 07:16 AM   #1
mkell33
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breathing

A little help please --
I am training for my first century and have been upping the miles every week and having great fun in the process. I managed a 70 mile ride this weekend but about 65 into it I started feeling uncomfortable when taking deep breaths - sort of like when you swallowed pool water as a kid (remember that short breath feeling). I had no coughing or anything, just a feeling like I really could not do much other than short breaths without feeling a little constricted.

Although I don't have allergies that I know about I wonder if I am being affected by particulates in the air - the wind was blowing hard right at us, we were doing rolling hills with very fast downhills, and the tree pollen was extremely high for the day. Has anyone had this experience? One other in my group had the same feeling but not as much as I did. I have never had a exercise-induced asthma issue and this came on very late in the day so I am doubtful of that notion. I will call a doc to check it out but wondered if any fellow cyclists have confronted this in the past.

Thanks!
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Old 04-21-08, 09:21 AM   #2
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This is one of two big things.

For me, this would happen to me when I got my self into the redzone. For me, the red zone is about 80-95% max heart rate, and it feels like I can't breath and seems to match the description of Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA). ever since I've adopted a HRM and Cadence to judge exertion levels, I've been able to avoid this issue.

Do get checked out by a doc just to be sure.

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Old 04-21-08, 10:02 AM   #3
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Do get checked out by a doc just to be sure.

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Old 04-21-08, 01:01 PM   #4
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This is one of two big things.

For me, this would happen to me when I got my self into the redzone. For me, the red zone is about 80-95% max heart rate, and it feels like I can't breath and seems to match the description of Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA). ever since I've adopted a HRM and Cadence to judge exertion levels, I've been able to avoid this issue.

Do get checked out by a doc just to be sure.

flyingcadet
Thanks very much for the reply. The thing is that I do get into the red zone in workouts on a 2-3 times a week basis without this ever happening. I use a heart rate monitor and do stationary bike classes - spinning - along with outdoor rides. I have no trouble with very intense cardio workouts (that I closely track to ensure no under or over efforts happen). When I hit the max out point in those I really just am breathing too hard and need to stop - but it is a very deep breating and much sweating. I'm calling a doc but I bet it is the junk in the air that I sucked in over a number of hours that just aggravated my lungs.

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Old 04-21-08, 02:13 PM   #5
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I wouldn't rule out EIA based on when in the ride you started experiencing these symptoms. My EIA (diagnosed through various breathing tests by a heart and lung specialist Dr.) hits me when ...

-- I am exerting myself above and beyond what I normally do (i.e. trying to keep up with someone, or climbing hills)
-- I ride in cool to cold weather
-- I ride in cool damp weather
-- I become emotionally stressed on a ride (and sometimes in non-ride situations too, like occasionally, public speaking)
-- there are additional particles in the air like dust and smoke ... sometimes.

So it can start right away at the beginning of a ride, or suddenly hit me in the middle of a ride, or sometimes I experience the "typical" (for me, at least) symptoms of hacking up a lung when I stop riding.

I think I've always had traces of EIA, or at least I recall slight symptoms as early as 12 years old, but it didn't really become a problem until I was in my late 30s when it seemed to suddenly become much worse.

It wouldn't hurt to have it checked ... I believe there were two or three short breathing tests they did at the lab so it isn't really time consuming either, and it is worth being diagnosed because, if that is the problem, then you can get the appropriate inhaler and be able to ride like you used to (provided you remember to use it! )
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Old 04-21-08, 06:15 PM   #6
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I wouldn't rule out EIA based on when in the ride you started experiencing these symptoms. My EIA (diagnosed through various breathing tests by a heart and lung specialist Dr.) hits me when ...

-- I am exerting myself above and beyond what I normally do (i.e. trying to keep up with someone, or climbing hills)
-- I ride in cool to cold weather
-- I ride in cool damp weather
-- I become emotionally stressed on a ride (and sometimes in non-ride situations too, like occasionally, public speaking)
-- there are additional particles in the air like dust and smoke ... sometimes.

So it can start right away at the beginning of a ride, or suddenly hit me in the middle of a ride, or sometimes I experience the "typical" (for me, at least) symptoms of hacking up a lung when I stop riding.

I think I've always had traces of EIA, or at least I recall slight symptoms as early as 12 years old, but it didn't really become a problem until I was in my late 30s when it seemed to suddenly become much worse.

It wouldn't hurt to have it checked ... I believe there were two or three short breathing tests they did at the lab so it isn't really time consuming either, and it is worth being diagnosed because, if that is the problem, then you can get the appropriate inhaler and be able to ride like you used to (provided you remember to use it! )

Thanks. This is very helpful. I'm going into my internist on Thursday to be safe with this. He'll probably recommend a specialist who will not have an appointment until a month after I do the century I'm training for. This weekend's training ride should be telling for my condition. Maybe I'll bring a over the counter product.
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Old 04-21-08, 06:39 PM   #7
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Wow, I was searching earlier today to see if anyone had posted about this exact issue. At the first metric I did, a little over a month ago, I had a little bit of this, and so did at least one of the other guys I was riding with. Last weekend, I rode a hilly metric without any problem. This past Saturday, at about mile 60 of my 67-mile ride I got this exact problem--felt like I'd spent the day in the pool, couldn't breathe deeply without coughing. The feeling persisted, and I kept coughing, for a while after I got home, but it slowly faded.

Please keep us posted about what you find out. Perhaps I should just go to the doctor as other people have said, but I've got some busy times coming up, so that's not going to happen until late May at the earliest. I'd really appreciate hearing what you learn.
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Old 04-21-08, 09:47 PM   #8
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If you're pushing really hard - interval hard - it's not uncommon to feel a little tight in the lungs.

If you are getting it when you don't really feel like you're working that hard and/or it comes on suddenly, I think Machka's on the rigth track.
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Old 04-22-08, 04:33 AM   #9
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Wow, I was searching earlier today to see if anyone had posted about this exact issue. At the first metric I did, a little over a month ago, I had a little bit of this, and so did at least one of the other guys I was riding with. Last weekend, I rode a hilly metric without any problem. This past Saturday, at about mile 60 of my 67-mile ride I got this exact problem--felt like I'd spent the day in the pool, couldn't breathe deeply without coughing. The feeling persisted, and I kept coughing, for a while after I got home, but it slowly faded.

Please keep us posted about what you find out. Perhaps I should just go to the doctor as other people have said, but I've got some busy times coming up, so that's not going to happen until late May at the earliest. I'd really appreciate hearing what you learn.
I see that you are out of Phily. This came on for me out in Virginia - so it could be related to the mid-Atlantic tree pollen which was at a very high level this past weekend. I am going to do 60 this weekend and see what happens. It is possible that it is a mild allergy reaction -- like you are not allergic unless you get a really heavy dose of tree pollen. I have heard from others that said they had trouble last weekend around here too.
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Old 04-22-08, 09:30 PM   #10
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I had the same symptoms, which sound/ed a lot like EIA to me. I didn't bother with a big medical work-up; just went to the doc and asked for a prescription for an albuterol inhaler. This solved the problem entirely.
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Old 04-23-08, 06:15 AM   #11
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Thanks. This is very helpful. I'm going into my internist on Thursday to be safe with this. He'll probably recommend a specialist who will not have an appointment until a month after I do the century I'm training for. This weekend's training ride should be telling for my condition. Maybe I'll bring a over the counter product.
Do not mess with OTC inhalers. The fastest way to get a death cert with "asthma" as the cause of death is to depend on them. The drugs in a rescue inhaler are easy to accidentally abuse... and abuse means they don't work for asthma any more.

If you are coughing and mucus is coming up, there are some OTC cough products (pill and syrup forms) that are not harmful to asthmatics. In fact, one of the major ones was the bane of my childhood since the prescription syrup was the worst thing I've ever tasted (the OTC version is nowhere near as bad). If your doctor understands the circumstances, he or she can recommend one. I wouldn't go grabbing anything that claims it's for coughs. Sometimes, cough medications work in ways that make asthma worse. If your doc gives you a recommendation, go for the pills.
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Old 04-23-08, 12:09 PM   #12
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A little help please --
I am training for my first century and have been upping the miles every week and having great fun in the process. I managed a 70 mile ride this weekend but about 65 into it I started feeling uncomfortable when taking deep breaths - sort of like when you swallowed pool water as a kid (remember that short breath feeling). I had no coughing or anything, just a feeling like I really could not do much other than short breaths without feeling a little constricted.

Although I don't have allergies that I know about I wonder if I am being affected by particulates in the air - the wind was blowing hard right at us, we were doing rolling hills with very fast downhills, and the tree pollen was extremely high for the day. Has anyone had this experience? One other in my group had the same feeling but not as much as I did. I have never had a exercise-induced asthma issue and this came on very late in the day so I am doubtful of that notion. I will call a doc to check it out but wondered if any fellow cyclists have confronted this in the past.

Thanks!
I get this on some long hard rides and not on others. Typically if I back off it will eventually go away, if I don't back off and try to push through it I can get some serious coughing going on accompanied by bronchial pain. Seeing as it comes and goes for me (I think it is quasi allergy related) I have not had it checked but if yours is reproduceable every time I would get it checked.
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Old 04-23-08, 12:32 PM   #13
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Do not mess with OTC inhalers. The fastest way to get a death cert with "asthma" as the cause of death is to depend on them. The drugs in a rescue inhaler are easy to accidentally abuse... and abuse means they don't work for asthma any more.

If you are coughing and mucus is coming up, there are some OTC cough products (pill and syrup forms) that are not harmful to asthmatics. In fact, one of the major ones was the bane of my childhood since the prescription syrup was the worst thing I've ever tasted (the OTC version is nowhere near as bad). If your doctor understands the circumstances, he or she can recommend one. I wouldn't go grabbing anything that claims it's for coughs. Sometimes, cough medications work in ways that make asthma worse. If your doc gives you a recommendation, go for the pills.
Thanks for the info but no coughing or mucus at all for me - just short/shallow breaths before it feels tough breath deeper - like there is no room in the lungs with all the particulates in there.
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Old 04-25-08, 07:20 AM   #14
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OP update

I went to the doctor and reported my symptoms. We talked. He checked me out. He thought about it. Then I think when he heard that the short breaths and uncomfortable breathing built up at around mile 60-65 he quickly concluded that it was simply a pollen/dust in the lung dose that my system did not like. He gave me an albuterol inhaler to try. Tree pollen is maxing this weekend so I will see. I feel way better knowing that I got this checked out. The inhaler is good for 100 shots so it should last for years for me. I am armed for the century I'm training for. Bottom line - go see the doc to get peace of mind on this sort of thing.
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Old 04-25-08, 07:46 AM   #15
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Albuterol inhaler, eh? Shocking. Lol.

Check your expiration date, though. The stuff generally has a lifespan of a couple of months.
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Old 04-25-08, 08:12 AM   #16
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Asthma can suck, when untreated and when you don't listen to your body. I refused to believe my wife when she wanted me to be checked. I finally went in for a battery of tests and I was amazed out how poorly I did. I now use a rescue inhaler before certain types of exercise and carry one with my on long rides. Depending on the weather, what my allergies are doing, how cold the air is, etc... onset of an episode can be completely random. For the past 2 months I've been using a daily inhaler (fine powder of some sort) and its done wonders.

Untreated you could end up in the emergency room. I've been there and done that - its not fun when you can't breathe - but treated and managed you'll do just fine. And avoid colds and anything that can cause congestion or irritation in the lungs, and don't rule out allergies that can trigger an attack.
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Old 04-25-08, 09:10 AM   #17
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I was able to ride 310 miles in four days. Decide to get my breathing checked yesterday from a allergy doctor.
Results: Scored 63% on a breathing test, Inflamed Sinuses, Inflamed bronchiole tubes, reversible Asthma.
Now taking 4 medications to correct the problems.
Please see a doctor if you have any kind of problems.
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Old 04-25-08, 01:01 PM   #18
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thanks for pointing that out, I'll keep an eye on it.
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Old 04-25-08, 10:50 PM   #19
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If you find the inhaler helps, but you need more than a couple doses a day, go back to the doctor. Think of albuterol as a first aid treatment... if you need it often, it's better to add a maintenance drug to your routine. It's harder to overuse albuterol than the OTC inhalers, but it's still not a good idea *g*. It's also a good idea to have a peak flow meter. The meter gives you an idea of what kind of shape your lung capacity is in. Keeping track of your lung capacity can be kind of fun since it means you can tell the doctor "look, I'm feeling bad for a reason!" Makes it much easier to get help.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:05 PM   #20
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With overexertion, you could be hyperventilating. Exhale deeply!
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Old 04-26-08, 04:24 PM   #21
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I have pretty well controlled EIA. After a long ride a lot of times if I try to take a deep breath I start coughing and feeling nauseous.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:59 PM   #22
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I figured I'd try to test the allergies theory at Calvin's Challenge. I started getting this problem around mile 80, so I took some Benadryl when I finished that loop. I think it's EIA. I felt better at the beginning of the next loop, but I think that was just from having rested a bit. I still had the feeling for most of that loop and kept coughing for 30-45 minutes after I finished riding. And anyway, it was raining half the time and there aren't that many trees out there in Ohio, so that also cuts against the pollen theory.

So I guess it's time to go to the doctor.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:54 PM   #23
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Just came across this thread again and thought I'd post an update in case anyone ever finds it while searching: I went to the doctor and he prescribed an albuterol inhaler. The diagnostic process wasn't that involved--I said I thought I had EIA, described what had been happening, and he agreed. He said to take two puffs before a ride and then more later (i.e. after 4 or more hours) if I had problems.

I was thinking I'd try rides without using the inhaler to learn more about the circumstances and limits of the problem, but I've given up on that. Using the inhaler before setting out, I've had zero problems, even during a 24-hour event. The last time I tried a ride without it I got my usual symptoms around mile 50 and then 20 miles later climbing a steep hill I actually felt unable to breathe for the first time (normally it's been just a constricted feeling and some coughing, but this was actually a little scary).

So the new plan is to just use the inhaler for anything over 40 or 50 miles and enjoy my trouble-free lungs.
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Old 08-27-08, 09:36 PM   #24
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I was able to ride 310 miles in four days. Decide to get my breathing checked yesterday from a allergy doctor.
Results: Scored 63% on a breathing test, Inflamed Sinuses, Inflamed bronchiole tubes, reversible Asthma.
Now taking 4 medications to correct the problems.
Please see a doctor if you have any kind of problems.
Up date; Two weeks later returned to Doctor. Scored 85% on Breathing Test.
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Old 08-27-08, 10:15 PM   #25
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breathing? no no, my legs are just ON FIRE >: O . . . low lactic acid tolerance
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