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Saturday, December 7, 2013
Sports Asthma Duration
As a child I was heavily involved in competitive swimming (minimum 4 hours training a week from about age 6 on) until I tired of it around age 10. I`ve heard that this high level of exposure to chlorine at a young age can trigger asthma, is this true?
I flirted with other sports but by the time I was 13 I was doing no sports whatsoever. My fitness level declined and I was often breathless during exercise but it was not until I was away at summer camp shortly before I turned 14 that I suffered a proper asthma attack. When I got home from camp I was taken to the doctor who did allergy tests and peak flow tests. Though my peak flow was normal I am mildly allergic to house dust mites. The doctor diagnosed exercise induced asthma and prescribed ventolin for me.
Eventually it cleared up and by 15 I almost never used my inhaler. I`m 18 now but it seems to have reappeared. I was away at the end of october on a week long outdoor course that involved a lot of running and crawling. Although my asthma didn`t seem to play up I did catch a cough a few days before the end of the camp, which turned into a chest infection when I got home. About 2 weeks after returning home I was out running when only 100m into the run I suffered a severe asthma attack. Naturally I went to the doctor about this. However, over 24 hours after the attack my peak flow was only reading 340 (I`m 5`6 and 118lbs so I think it should be about 420, is this right?) The doctor then prescribed penecillan for the infection, seretide and ventolin, both of which i have to inhale twice a day and the ventolin as required. It`s now almost a month after getting the cough and although the infection is gone I still have the cough and am still reliant on the ventolin.
I`m worried that this won`t go away as I wish to pursue a career in the army and asthma will fail me on my medical instantly. The exercise induced asthma seemed to disappear after a while but given that I`m now on preventors as well as the reliever I`m worried that it has turned into full-blown asthma and won`t go away. Is there any chance that it was just a combination of circumstances and it will once again disappear or is it more likely that i`ll suffer with this for the rest of my life?
The long term course of asthma is variable. Your recent flare may have been precipitated by a viral infection which is a very common occurrence. Now that it appears to be somewhat persistent you should seek advice about long term follow-up and treatment of persistent asthma. There are new diagnostic tests that measure persistent asthma inflammation. It is is not possible to predict the long term consequences of your current asthma.
I Leonard Bernstein, MD
Clinical Professor Emeritus
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati