When you think about asthma what comes to your mind? It might be someone using an inhaler, or someone having shortness of breath. What you might not think of is an Olympic athlete. In fact, according to doctors, asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions found in Olympic athletes. So just because you have asthma, it doesn't mean you have to sit on the sidelines.
Any athlete with asthma will tell you, the feeling of an asthma attack is something like the feeling of trying to breathe through a straw. And Dr. Barry Woitalla says if asthma goes undiagnosed and untreated it can seriously affect your athletic performance.
"If you're asthma is not well controlled, it's very hard to preform at your peak, because you can't get enough air and it's really going to hinder your performance. But if you've got well controlled asthma and you work with your doctor on a regular basis, it's going to help keep it under control and you may not have any problem at all."
If kept in check, asthma doesn't have to keep you down. And Dr. Woitalla says when dealing with asthma, It helps to know what environmental factors could trigger an attack.
"It tends to be more when the weather changes quite a bit so spring and fall are probably the more common times but it really depends on what the particular patients triggers may be."
And if you're ever caught without you're inhaler? "If you ever don't have your inhaler first thing you want to do is let you're coach or somebody else supervising know that you're having some trouble breathing and that you have asthma. Get to a cool area and keep calm. That's probably the most important thing. You want to take nice deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth through pursed lips, we call that pursed lip breathing. And you want to have the exhale take about twice as long as the inhale."
And remember, asthma shouldn't keep you from competing in sports, as long as you take the proper steps to keep it in check.
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