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  1. #1
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    im 43 and switched from running (20 years, 30-36 miles a week) to cycling in august of 04. when i ran, i always dreaded the cold dry seasons because it was a bit difficult to breath with the wheezing and coughing especially on harder runs. i just added it up to my lungs not liking the cold air. it didnt stop me from running as it wasnt to bad but it was uncomfortable during the runs with the sore lungs & coughing that lasted about an hour after the runs. when it got to cold outside to run i would join a gym for the winter months & the lungs felt fine no matter how hard i ran indoor on a treadmill.

    switch to this december. in the last month ive mostly been in the basement on the trainer, hammering away for 1 to 1 3/4 hours at a time. no problems breathing. twice since i switched indoors ive ventured outside for a ride. the first ride (mid december) was a 20 miler in 38-40 degree weather. it started out ok but on my first serious climb i started wheezing. i figured ok, its cold out here just my normal thing. i would recover but as soon as my next hard effort came the wheezing started again. it pretty much continued coming & going the whole ride and again i just chalked it up to being normal.

    switch to today. i went on a 40 mile ride today in 40-45 degree weather with a local group & a bike forum member (TJHOO). started out fine, zipping down the road, slight wheezing, then came the first hard climb. i can say this climb was the hardest climb ive ever done in my short cycling career. dont know how far or how steep it was but 1/4 of the way up the wheezing got worse. 1/2 way up it was starting to get difficult to breath. 3/4 of the way up i started to panic a bit as ive never felt the sensation of not being able to breath before. i was clawing at my helmet strap so i could undo my helmet to get my neck gator off because i felt like it was choking me (it wasnt but the mind plays tricks). i had to consciously force myself to calm down and try to breath smooth & steady but that was very difficult to do. luckily about that time i crested the top and was able to recover on the backside. during the climb my legs never felt bad like they were spent, i just couldnt breath. the rest of the ride wasnt as bad but i did do some wheezing on subsequent climbs.

    all summer long i can hammer away with no problems. in my basement i can hammer away with no problems. anybody else experience this? is it time to make a doctors appointment? thanks
    Last edited by bluecd; 01-01-06 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    It sounds like you don't have too much trouble when you are riding inside. What kind of warmup are you doing when you ride in cold weather? I'm not an MD, so I'm not going to attempt a diagnosis, but I can say from personal experience that I have mild breathing issues if I go outside in <40 oF weather and start a regular workout without doing 1/2 hour of noodling around first. I don't have asthma anymore, but I had a problem about a year and a half ago when I first moved to a new area that was known for its horrid pollen problems. I became sensitive to a lot of things I normally didn't react to, including cold weather riding. I'm now over all this stuff thankfully, but my coach (also an MD) told me to do a good 1/2 hour warmup so my lungs could acclimate to the outside temperature.

    If your airways get irritated like this, I'd take a day or two inside to give your lungs a break. Then try riding outside again, except with a slow warmup, maybe try wearing a balaclava or something to cover your face when you ride. If you try this a few times and it still bothers you, then I'd say talk to a doctor. I wouldn't worry too much though. It doesn't sound like a major problem if you can ride just fine when it isn't cold.

  3. #3
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    i have the same problem. when i go outside in winter dry weather i make sure to take an inhaler.. never happens to me in nice weather though. inhalor works wonders though

  4. #4
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    i always to try ride moderately easy the first 5 miles or so to warm up. maybe ill try to warm up a bit more and see how that goes. as long as its warm and a bit humid im fine but as soon as it dries up & gets cold i have the problem. i want to get outside more this winter but this makes it difficult to do.

  5. #5
    SAB
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    Cold air can irritate the air passages (bronchi) and lead to wheezing/coughing. Some people are quite sensitive to cold and can use certain inhaled medications to help relieve the symptoms. Anything you can do to eliminate cold air going into your lungs might help. A balaclava or mask is good idea, or breathing through your nose and out your mouth if possible. Of course if you're really out there hammering, a mask will be too warm/cumbersome and there's no way you can get enough air through your nose while pounding down the road at 30mph. You should see your doctor. He/she may just give you a trial of an inhaler and see if it helps. Good luck.

  6. #6
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TehArrow
    i have the same problem. when i go outside in winter dry weather i make sure to take an inhaler.. never happens to me in nice weather though. inhalor works wonders though
    is this something that was prescribed to you by a doctor?

  7. #7
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    i did a quick google search and this pretty much sums me up. http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1996/01_96/rupp.htm


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Table 2. Factors in the Patient History That Suggest the Presence of Exercise-Induced Asthma
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Coughing, wheezing, dyspnea, or chest discomfort with exercise

    Symptoms that vary by season or outdoor temperature

    Discontinued, decreased, or altered exercise regimen

    Complaints of decreased or limited endurance

    'Out of Shape' label used to describe a well-conditioned athlete

    Minimal problems with swimming or in warm, humid environments

  8. #8
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluecd
    is this something that was prescribed to you by a doctor?
    I've got an inhaler around for emergencies although I haven't used it for over a year. I got my from my doctor. Most of the stuff out there you have to get through a prescription. Although I think you can get a basic type of inhaler from a drugstore (I seem to recall having seen inhalers at my local one a while ago), it's best not to mess around with this. Just discuss it with your doctor if the problem doesn't go away within a week or so after doing good warmups

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I know I have Exercise Induced Asthma ... I have been diagnosed with it by my MD and a specialist.

    The specialist prescribed Serevent (an inhaler) which has, quite literally, changed my life.

    Go see a Doctor!!

  10. #10
    BayAreaRider
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    I have exercise induced asthma. i am NOT an MD, but here are my thoughts/experience:

    1. It does appear you have asthma attacks triggered by cold/dry air.
    2. I have effectively controlled my asthma attacks through the use of an inhaler (e.g., albuterol).
    3. Advair is a newer drug that is preventative that seems to work for me. I use this in conjunction with the inhaler.
    4. You should see a doctor and get a medical opinion asap. You don't want an asthma attack on a 50 mile solo ride in the middle of nowhere.

    Again, i am not an MD, but hope this provides some data for you. Good luck.

  11. #11
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    thanks, ill make an appointment tomorrow.

  12. #12
    Senior Member geraldatwork's Avatar
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    I'm 57 and never had asthma until about 10 years ago I had symptions similiar to yours. One of the differences is that it took me longer to catch my wind or long to recover. I was diagnosed with EIA and put on a powder inhaler every day called Pulmicort. It worked until a 95 degree day about 4 years ago during a mountain bike ride I had to stop because I couldn't catch my breath even after stopping for about 5 or 10 minutes. Even a rescue inhaler didn't help much. It took about 20 minutes before I could breath normally again. I had to "limp" back at a very slow speed and even then I had to stop and rest after about every 10 minutes for a few minutes. Since then I have increased my daily dose of the Pulmicort and haven't had any problems. I sometimes after pushing hard on the bike I breathe very hard and fast but when I rest or coast I recover very quickly and can go at it again.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I have asthma too and I find if I start out with an easy warm-up for 30-45 minutes, it flares up slightly, then goes away. However if I start out at a hammering pace, it hits me really hard and never goes away. I pretty much have to stop riding and just sit it out for an hour before it subsides.

    Cutting out dairy and wheat/gluten has helped out quite a bit.

  14. #14
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    yeah thats asthma allright, it takes one to know one. i have had asthma all my life and the one thing that keeps asthma and lung problems in check, is exercise. the obvious problem is, that exercise effects your lungs, so the trick is to let your body and lungs get used to the weather and the fact your going to exercise before you get that heart rate up to 155 bpm. simply , force yourself to take it ultra easy for the first 15 mins or so, just dont push yourself hard and after the warm up , you will be perfect. if you find this doesnt work for you, then go to a doc and get an bronchial dilator. either way this is a very common problem with many solutions. best of luck

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomyus
    , so the trick is to let your body and lungs get used to the weather and the fact your going to exercise before you get that heart rate up to 155 bpm. simply , force yourself to take it ultra easy for the first 15 mins or so, just dont push yourself hard and after the warm up , you will be perfect. if you find this doesnt work for you, then go to a doc and get an bronchial dilator. either way this is a very common problem with many solutions. best of luck

    That solution doesn't work for me at all. I can take the entire ride ultra easy, never getting my heart rate up over about 120 bpm, and still come home and hack up a lung ... if the weather conditions are "right" (i.e. cold and damp).

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    I also developed asthma in my forties and it is always worse in the winter months your Doctor can recommend what meds to take I use serevent as a slow acting bronco dialator and I keep a fast acting inhaler , does the same thing as the serevent but instantly, albuterol on me at all times. when I first developed asthma I just used the albuterol before my rides. now with the serevent I only use the albuterol 2-3X a month. These meds are all presrciption so see your doctor. riding in winter is no problem as long as you use these inhalers. also if one medicine doesn't work ask your doctor to try another. I tried Advair which is serevent and another cortisteroid, the one that is in flovent, and this gave me terrible headaches and sinus congestion. I switched back to serevent discus and have no side effects at all.

  17. #17
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    That solution doesn't work for me at all. I can take the entire ride ultra easy, never getting my heart rate up over about 120 bpm, and still come home and hack up a lung ... if the weather conditions are "right" (i.e. cold and damp).
    machka, does your EIA affect you any other time? im perfectly fine when im not exercising in the cold. right now i can breath deep with no restriction and feel perfectly normal. yesterday on the ride it felt like i was trying to breath through a straw. no matter how hard i tried to suck the air in i just couldnt fill the lungs. do you only use the inhaler before exercising or are you on a program. if i end up needing an inhaler id like to use it only before a ride and maybe carry it with me just in case.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mojo GoGo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I know I have Exercise Induced Asthma ... I have been diagnosed with it by my MD and a specialist.

    The specialist prescribed Serevent (an inhaler) which has, quite literally, changed my life.

    Go see a Doctor!!
    I agree, I thought I had EIA but only needed an inhaler (albuterol). My problem tended to be an increased flow of mucous when exercising [hard] in cold weather. Asthma is the inflamation of the bronchial tubes and medicines for asthma include steroids to reduce the swelling. Why go with the nuclear option if it's not needed.

    Also, if you're a mouth breather try breathing through your nose. Pre-warming the air should help somewhat.
    Ciao,
    Mojo GoGo

    For too long have we sat under the thumb of mankind.
    Now is the time to OPPOSE that thumb!


    I'm not fat, I'm a sprinter!

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluecd
    machka, does your EIA affect you any other time? im perfectly fine when im not exercising in the cold. right now i can breath deep with no restriction and feel perfectly normal. yesterday on the ride it felt like i was trying to breath through a straw. no matter how hard i tried to suck the air in i just couldnt fill the lungs. do you only use the inhaler before exercising or are you on a program. if i end up needing an inhaler id like to use it only before a ride and maybe carry it with me just in case.

    Thinking back on it, mine probably started when I was in my late teens. I just thought it was normal to hack up a lung if I laughed too hard, or after I came in from chilly outdoor activities. For many years it didn't get any worse than that, until about 2 years ago when I started hacking up a lung the moment I went from anything remotely "chilly" to anything slightly warmer ... so when I was on a brevet, and stepped into a control, I would almost instantly be doubled over hacking, and wouldn't stop until I had been back on my bicycle again for about 15 minutes. Once the ride was done, and I was in warm temps for an extended period of time, I would continue to cough for about 12 hours.

    But I didn't think it wasn't affecting my performance on my bicycle, so I just lived with it. Then in the summer of 2004, it was a cool, damp day (about 10C/50F), and I was riding with someone who just kept picking up the pace and picking up the pace. We had already been on the road for about an hour at a fairly easy pace, so I had the time to adjust and warm up etc., but it didn't help. All of a sudden I started hyperventillating, I couldn't get any air in, it felt like my lungs had closed down on me, and of course, I started to panic. We had to stop until I got my breathing under control.

    I foolishly didn't do anything about it, and then on the Great Southern Randonnee, it really acted up. That was another chilly, damp ride and I started hacking and coughing every time I got off my bicycle ... and then toward the end of the ride, it began to affect me while I was still riding. And once again I got into the hyperventillating/panic situation.

    When I returned to Canada, I went to my Dr who sent me for a whole pile of various tests (I have two damaged heart valves which we monitor too, and that might have also caused my problems, so those had to be checked again), and I was sent to an internal specialist (heart and lungs) who told me that there was still a small chance it was my heart, but from the tests, symptoms, etc. it was most likely EIA.

    He prescribed Serevent which is a long-lasting inhaler. It is to be taken every 12 hours as needed ... which is great for the type of riding I do. For a short ride like a century, I take it about 30 minutes before I go out and it usually lasts for the whole century. For my longer brevets, I take it about 30 minutes before I start, and then use it every 12 hours. I also have something like Ventillin which is a fast acting, short lasting inhaler for "emergencies". Since I started using the Serevent, I think I've only used the Ventillin once or twice. And I don't use the Serevent every day ... I only use it when I know I'm going to be active in coolish, damp conditions.

    But what a difference!! I didn't think my EIA was affecting my performance, I thought the agonizing pain I was in every time I climbed a hill (legs and lungs), and the struggle I went through climbing hills, was just lack of training. And it probably partially was, but when I started using the Serevent, all of a sudden I could climb hills without having my legs and lungs feel like they were being ripped off/out. And I can breathe!! I remember the first time I used an inhaler (they gave me a puff during one of the tests) ... it felt like I could breathe right to the bottom of my lungs! I don't remember the last time I felt like I could do that. It was wonderful!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member bbwolfy's Avatar
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    i run and cycle and it seems the hills are harder cycling for some reason but i catch myself not breathing deep enough tightning my throat clenching my jaw etc. where as i run hills i relax my chest to get more air/fuel this may help sometimes we forget to breathe i hav had asthma in the past you sound like you could use an albuterol inhaler. mine made me giddy and trouble sleeping 3-4 hours later one trick ido is to suck on a peppermint candy like the ones at pizza hut and or brush my teeth it keeps my mouth from feeling fuzzy later on .also i notice you are taking a 30 degree temp dive this can be quite a shock perhaps a lite balaclva may help good luck hope this helps i would use the inhaler sparingily to avoid becoming dependent on it

  21. #21
    synapses firing bluecd's Avatar
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    machka, thanks for taking the time to type all that out i appreciate it. also the same to everyone else that answered.

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