Keeping Exercise-Induced Asthma on a Short Leash

Illustration for article titled Keeping Exercise-Induced Asthma on a Short Leash

Tanner, the family dog, was treated to a long-overdue pedicure Friday, so now he can stop slipping and sliding on the hardwoods, and cease aerating our clothes. Just about every t-shirt in this house has a tiny hole or 10 along the hemline – punctured by Tanner’s talon-like toenails every time he’d jump up to greet us.


Now that he can once again go on walks, I bought him a brand new lead. I’d take a picture of the Tan Man and his new leash on life, but my lovely red camera traveled to Myrtle Beach with my son and his friend last week and came back dead as a mackerel. I swiped some batteries from the remote; no luck. But back to the leash . . .

It’s early Saturday a.m., and Tanner’s dragging me through the park, absolutely flipping out – The smells! The squirrels! So many trees! This must be Doggie Heaven! I was walking at a brisk pace, occasionally jogging. About 45 minutes later I had a good sweat going, but I was also wheezing; by the time we reached the car, I heard whistling. Coming from me.


I googled something I’d only heard of once or twice: exercise-induced asthma. Check it out:

·        Exercise is a common trigger of asthma attacks.

·        Exercise can even induce an asthma attack in people who have no other triggers and do not experience asthma under any other circumstances.

You know what? That fits. I’m told I suffered from asthma as an infant, but haven’t had any problems or symptoms since. However, ever since moving to North Carolina 11 years ago, I’ve had at least seven bouts of bronchitis so severe I’m now the proud owner of a breathing machine, two prescription inhalers and a standing prescription for some sort of steroid.

I haven’t needed any of that stuff since my Christmas-tree allergy kicked in last December – stop laughing; I love real trees – but what I felt Saturday, and this morning at the gym, was familiar. And a little scary.  I got back on Advair. It’s not a “rescue” inhaler, and this morning I didn’t feel I needed rescuing, but after walking and doing a little jogging on the treadmill, and especially after shooting hoops for 30 minutes, I felt as if my lungs were closing up a bit. I took a hit of Advair soon as I got home, and I’ll probably keep the prescription updated from now until after the holidays.


Asthma is scary stuff. Like allergies, it can hit you at any age. Like me, you can be fine for decades, then one day it just hitchhikes its way into your life.

I guess if there’s anything good about my truly painful bouts with bronchitis, it’s that I know the difference between simply being out of breath and being in trouble.


Hope you do, too.

Onward and upward.

Asthma doesn't seem to bother me any more unless I'm around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar. .  ~  Steve Allen


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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