Question for the Asthma suffers
In my youth, back home in Sweden, I used to do a lot of long distance running and triathlons.Since then things have changed. I’m still fairly fit but more occupied with work and family. I work in fairly cold environment and as I have possibly developed asthma (shortness of breath, pain in my lungs) this is becoming increasingly difficult. I’m not in the position to ‘just quit’ as my doctor suggested and getting another job is also very difficult. So I have to find ways of dealing with it. I have seen 6 doctors so far about it and none of them really wants to know about it. I was given a couple of puffers but so far (7 months) I don’t think any of them is really helping. I remember in my youth I have trained with a lot of guys that suffered from asthma. They were able ‘to go the distance’ in rather cool Swedish spring weather. Since I was young and stupid at the time I didn’t pay attention to their ways of dealing with it. Now I need to examine the subject closer. I want to know from any asthma sufferers among you, especially those training in cold and dry parts of the world, how do you get through 10, 11 or 12 hours of training? I’m thinking of applying the same concepts to my daily life. I imagine there must be ways of keeping the nostrils open instead of constricting in the cold air, of dealing with the pain in the lungs.
If you do have asthma, you should have been prescribed a Salbutamol inhaler ( usually blue ) and possibly a steroid inhaler ( usually brown ).
Blue is for reliving symptoms, and Brown is for preventing them. Most doctors recommend that you use the Brown inhaler regularly ( it doesn't work if you just take it when you have symptoms ) and take the Blue inhaler as required. Most asthma sufferers take the blue inhaler before training, and Doctors usually agree this is a good idea.
Regarding how you live with Asthma, its important to know what asthma is, and how it effects your breathing. I had Asthma for 20 years before being told that, contrary to popular belief, Asthma doesn't effect you ability for inhale. It effects you ability to exhale. If someone has an Asthma attack, this information can save their life. If you are training and you feel the effects for asthma, remember this information and exaggerate your exhalation. I find that, when running I normally breath in time with my steps, 2 steps breathing in, 2 steps breathing out. If I find my asthma is effecting me, I increase the breathing out to 3 steps, making sure I really empty my lungs. This does work. ( for me at least ).
Cold mornings do make the symptoms worse. I remember winter cross country when I was at school. Again, using your inhalers should relive the symptoms. If not, then you maybe don't have asthma. Its unusual to develop it in later life, but not unheard of.
Sorry for rambling on. haha
I've not needed an inhaler for +20 years now, so keep exercising.
Cold dry winter air definitely doesn't help, so I don't do so much hard outdoor training in the winter, and the endurance sessions that I do are very much easier than the summer. Definitely no cafe rides with the club - being stopped in a cafe in damp riding gear for 40 minutes is sure to make me struggle the rest of the ride. In the winter I only go hard on the indoor trainer, or for short run sessions (less than 10km) outdoors.
The warm damp air of swimming pools seems to be a comforter for those sensitive lungs, so maybe more swimming in the winter?
Only then will you know if it's working (it can take 12 months for airway inflammation to subside) and you can then tailor your medication to your requirements.
If asthma is well controlled, the blue should not be required.
As your symptoms improve then start to ease off the medication slightly (but remain consistent with timings etc) and see how to respond.
Good luck and just shout if you need specific advice.