Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease wherein an inflammation in the breathing passage occurs, blocking the air going to the lungs. A person suffering from asthma experiences sudden attacks, causing problems in breathing, which is the body's response to allergens.
Exercise is a common cause of asthma attacks. A person suffering from exercise-induced asthma attacks may show asthma symptoms after a vigorous workout. Doctors believe that such an attack is triggered by a sudden change in temperature and the sensitivity of the body to humidity. A person at rest breathes through the nose, warming and humidifying the air, making it similar to the air in the lungs. When a person exercises, breathing is done through the mouth, so that the air that enters the lungs is much colder and drier. The difference in the temperature between the cold inhaled air and the warm air in the lungs can trigger an asthma attack.
The causes of asthma attacks, as well as their severity, vary from patient to patient. Triggers may include contaminants in the air like smoke, pollution, vapors, dust, chemical particles, respiratory infections, allergens in the air, a sudden change in temperature and emotional stress.
When a person experiences an asthma attack, the airway swells and starts to secrete a large amount of mucus, partially blocking the airway. This makes the patient experience difficulty in breathing.
Given proper medication, a person suffering from exercise-induced asthma can have a normal life without experiencing any attacks. In fact, several professional athletes have a medical history of asthma, but are not bothered by the condition. Medical researchers actually cite athletes as their prime example of how far asthma medications have come in the recent years.
Athletes undergoing medical treatments for exercise-induced asthma have been heavily criticized. Many believe that several athletes use asthma medication to mask their intake of performance-enhancing drugs and other unauthorized drugs.