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Exercise Induced Asthma
Old 08-18-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Exercise Induced Asthma

Okay, I have self-diagnosed myself with this. I have never had any health problems in my life, and pretty much have no medical history since I was 4 years old. It wasn't until I moved to a dry climate and started, um, exercising that I developed this problem. This problem being that my airway constricts a bit and I have slightly wheezy breaths and mild coughing for some time afterwards. It only happens when the air is slightly chilly (under 55 degrees) and I am doing intense cardio. Hiking up a 14'er fast in 45 degree weather did not trigger it, but sprinting and running fast definitely do.

I am sure that going to see a doctor about it I would get an inhaler and be fine after that. However, I am hesitant to have the word asthma appear in my medical history, as I fear that will make it difficult to get insurance the next time we have to change insurance plans. (which happens about every 3-5 years due to job changes, plus we're planning on changing states in the future) Having to make medical decisions based on insurance worries is pretty much a drag, especially since my need for an inhaler alone wouldn't really cost the insurance company anything like someone who has full-blown asthma would. I'm not opposed to paying for the inhalers if that is excluded when I move insurance, but I am afraid of being denied coverage or being charged a huge premium for something that is not really a chronic issue.

Does anyone have this or know anyone with this condition? Any over-the-counter treatments available? Aside from the obvious answer to stop exercising...what would you do in my situation?
Thanks.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:09 PM   #2
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Go to a clinic and use a different name and pay with cash.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:09 PM   #3
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I would try to find forms of exercise that didn't trigger this response. Sounds easier to me than worrying about insurance problems.

But then, I suppose the responsible, medically approved response would be to see a doctor and get checked out. So maybe you shouldn't listen to what I said in the last paragraph!
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:11 PM   #4
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Go to a clinic and use a different name and pay with cash.
That won't work unless later on he is willing to lie about the treatment.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:55 PM   #5
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Problem is whether what you reasonably believe to be exercise-induced asthma is, in fact, that (sure might be). If it's 90% likely, a trial of OTC inhalers might be OK, but some of them raise the heart rate more than the prescription kind, which may be problematic if it occurs during exercise.

Of course, there's always reflux-induced cough, Valley Fever (Az, Central Valley of Ca?), and a host of other possibiliies. Medicine doesn't lend itself to do-it-yourself techniques as well as some other areas, and the stakes can be high.

I agree with you that the "system" tends to be punitive toward those with symptoms or diseases - seems rather counter to the concept of taking care of our own. Which is why any solution that leaves it up to the insurance companies will likely be incomplete at best, and dangerous and unaffordable, at worst (like it is getting now).

An alternate approach might be to call your doctor, describe your symptoms, and see if he or she is willing to prescribe over the phone. I probably wouldn't in this setting but it's not unreasonable to do so. It won't cost you anything, your doctor gets to work for free , and it might save you a visit. As for insurance, all you know really is that you have a cough. Unless it is diagnosed otherwise you can truthfully list it as such.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igsoy View Post
It wasn't until I moved to a dry climate and started, um, exercising that I developed this problem. This problem being that my airway constricts a bit and I have slightly wheezy breaths and mild coughing for some time afterwards. It only happens when the air is slightly chilly (under 55 degrees) and I am doing intense cardio. Hiking up a 14'er fast in 45 degree weather did not trigger it, but sprinting and running fast definitely do.



.


I have asthma which I developed late in life after a bad flu . I would not mess with respiratory issues . They can turn bad in a moment and if you are not prepared it's beyond scarey . I can go years with no issues and then something will trigger it . This is not something I would save money on.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:01 PM   #7
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Running in colder weather has always caused me some bronchial discomfort. Could be the cool, dry air is causing your passageways to be, uh, er, cool and dry...


Doctor HFWR declared "I'm not surprised to see you here
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But I'm glad you came to see me to get this off your chest
Come back and see me later - next patient please
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the thoughts on this, especially all the detail provided by Rich. I appreciate the words of caution. Rest assured my symptoms are quite mild, and an ordinary person might just put up with the mild cough that persists, annoying as it is. However, my occupation involves playing a brass instrument, so the cough is more troublesome to me than to an ordinary person.

I am more than 90% sure of the exercise cause - it has never occurred at any other time, and even running at my new 8 minute/mile pace hasn't triggered it, or uphill trail running, or anything. Only chilly temps and extreme whole body exertion - sustained 7:15 pace, or sprints have ever caused it.

I did not even know there were OTC treatments... Thanks for mentioning the heart rate thing involved with the OTC (epinephrine inhalers, I guess) - since my symptoms are so mild, I could just wait till after my workout to take it, so then that wouldn't be a problem. I was so excited to try it that I ran right out to the drugstore, but it's late and apparently you can only get it from the pharmacist, (they keep it behind the counter), so it will have to wait till tomorrow. Sure hope this does the trick.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:23 AM   #9
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Several months back I noticed those same symptoms cropping up after rides of more than 20 miles or so on my bike. When I had a VO2 Max test (similar to a stress test) the trainer noticed it too and cautioned me to check it out because of some significant problems that can result. I was having fainting problems during the same period as the wheezing but I was able to get rid of them by switching from Flomax to Avodart for BPH (one of those things we aging boomers have to deal with) Interestingly the wheezing disappeared as well so maybe the Flomax was contributing to the asthma symptoms. Now I am wondering if they will reappear when the weather cools off. Darn drugs are complicated. Rich is certainly right about medicine not being a DIY affair, but the doctors often don't seem to know what is happening either.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:37 AM   #10
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I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma when I was in my 20's. It was very, very mild - like you described - slight wheezing and occasionally coughing. I used an inhaler prescribed by my MD, but only as needed.

I seem to have "grown out of it". The only time I have slight difficulties now is if exercising in cold weather. So, I avoid those situations.

BTW, I've heard exercising in a warm pool is beneficial due to the added humidity in the warm air.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:05 AM   #11
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My asthma started as a cough that would not leave and progressed into wheezing . The main treatment for asthma is reduce the inflamation which no OTC inhaler will do and open up the airways which an OTC inhaler will do but with some danger .
OTC Asthma Inhalers Are Safe and Effective, but Often Misused
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