What is Exercise-Induced
Do you ever cough, wheeze, or have chest tightness during or after exercise? Do you
sometimes have to slow down or sit on the sidelines just to catch your breath? If so, you
may have exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB).
EIB is a temporary narrowing of the airways during or after exercise that can make it difficult to breathe.1,2 It can be triggered by breathing in air that is cooler and drier than the air in your lungs. EIB can affect people who have a range of fitness levels, from casual participants to elite athletes.3,4
Symptoms of EIB
Symptoms of EIB may include:2
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Trouble getting a deep breath
- Wheezing or noisy breathing
- Decreased exercise endurance
While the symptoms are similar, EIB is different from asthma. EIB symptoms are set off only by exercise or aerobic activity like jogging or playing sports.
EIB is common—in fact, an estimated 30 million people in the United States have it.5,6 EIB is especially common in people who have asthma—80-90 percent of patients with asthma also have EIB2—but you don't have to have asthma to have EIB.7
EIB and the Family
Being active and participating in sports can be important parts of growing up healthy. Unfortunately, EIB may prevent some young athletes from reaching their full potential, and deter other children from participating in exercise at all. That's why it's important to track EIB symptoms and any breathing issues your child has.
If your child has any of the symptoms above—or avoids exercise, sports, or other physical activities because of breathing problems—talk to their pediatrician. He or she can evaluate your child's symptoms and help your family find ways to keep active.
The EIB Quiz
To find out more about EIB, take our short EIB Quiz. You'll answer a few brief questions about breathing and exercise. Share the results with your healthcare professional to help him or her assess your breathing issues. If you are diagnosed with EIB, your healthcare professional can work with you on a treatment plan that will keep EIB symptoms under control.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. What you should know about exercise-induced bronchospasm. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(4):776.
- Sinha T, David AK. Recognition and management of exercise-induced bronchospasm. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(4):769-774.
- Mayers LB, Rundell KW. Exercise-induced asthma. Written for the American College of Sports Medicine.
- Weiler JM. Exercise-induced asthma: a practical guide to definitions, diagnosis, prevalence, and treatment. Allergy Asthma Proc. 1996;17(6):315-325.
- United States Census Bureau. Population Clock. http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html. Accessed September 2012.
- Dryden, DM et al. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and asthma. Evidence Report Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2010 Jan;(189);1-54, v-vi.
- NHLBI. Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/
asthgdln.pdf. Accessed August 2012.