Nothing's a more fun surprise for a runner than realizing they've developed asthma. Adult-Onset Asthma is definitely a bummer, but it doesn't have to be a career-ending “injury” by any stretch of the imagination. If Jackie Joyner-Kersey can do it, why not the rest of us?
If an athlete over 20 develops asthma, this is considered Adult-Onset Asthma. According to WebMD, adults who develop asthma typically fall into one of these categories:
Women who take estrogen following menopause for 10 years or longer
People who have just had certain viruses or illnesses, such as a cold or flu
People with allergies, especially to cats
People who are exposed to environmental irritants, such as tobacco smoke, mold, dust, feather beds, or perfume.
Adult-Onset Asthma can be diagnosed in a few different ways: doctor listening to your breathing and symptoms, a lung function test, a methacholine challenge test, or a chest X-ray. As you probably know symptoms include:
shortness of breath
occasionally rapid heart rate and sweating
There are also different severity levels of asthma, ranging from mild to severe. Treatments for asthma can include anti-inflammatories, bronchodilators (open the brochials), and with various monitors or action plans. Asthma effects 12%-15% of the population...
Running with Asthma
As a runner, your best bet is to run in warm, humid temperatures. Cold air is even more shocking to the lungs when we run because we're breathing through open mouths.
Generally, air comes in through the nostrils and gets warmed before it reaches the lungs—not so when running with your moth open. So a warmer, moister environment is ideal for an asthmatic runner. Also, it is essential to properly warm up before you begin running to allow your lungs to acclimate a bit. To just step out the front door and take off is the harshest shock of cold, dry air to your lungs.
Bring your inhaler with you—just in case. Drink warm fluids only before, during, and after exercise. If your lungs are really hurting after a workout, hop in the shower and breath in that warm, moist air to relax your lungs and give them a rest.
Famous athletes with asthma:
Jerome Bettis - former NFL halfback
Tom Dolan - Olympic swimmer
Kurt Grote - Olympic swimmer
Nancy Hogshead - Olympic swimmer
Juwan Howard – NBA player
Jim “Catfish” Hunter - former MLB player and Hall of Famer
Jackie Joyner-Kersee - Olympic runner
Bill Koch - Olympic cross-country skiier
Greg Louganis - Olympic diver
Debbie Meyer - Olympic swimmer
Art Monk - former NFL wide receiver
Robert Muzzio - decathlete
Dennis Rodman - former NBA player
Jim Ryun - Olympic track medalist
Alberto Salazar - past winner of the New York City and Boston marathons
Emmitt Smith – former NFL pro-bowler
Isaiah Thomas - former NBA player
Amy Van Dyken - Olympic swimmer
Dominique Wilkins - former NBA player and Hall of Famer