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Asthma

Exercise Induced Asthma and Weather

07/12/2001

Question:

This question refers to a 13-1/2 yr. old boy - 5`9" - 175 lbs. Plays elite (travel) hockey all year round. Works out with age-appropriate weights etc. and has a defined, muscular body type, not overweight as his weight might suggest. Last summer he had a few episodes of wheezing and chest tightness during especially long periods of time on the ice. These only seemed to occur during periods of extremely hot and humid weather. During regular season league play in the winter/spring, this was not a factor. He is now complaining of the same wheezing and chest tightness during this summer league play. The level of competition and time on the ice is higher as he is the youngest (but not the smallest) player on the team. He is playing with and competing against 15 - 19 year olds. He is concerned that he may have a form of exercise induced asthma and wonders if the use of an inhaler would relieve his discomfort during the summer months. His mother believes that this is a lack of conditioning and that inhalant use for asthma or asthma like conditions is abused by athletes for its possible performance enchancing qualities. His skating coach recommended that he use an inhaler. Opinion please? Thank You! Concerned grandparent

Answer:

This does indeed sound like it could be exercise induced asthma by the description you give. As only a detailed history and physical exam by a healthcare professional can provide enough information to make a specific diagnosis the next step should be to have him examined by his physician so that a diagnosis could be confirmed.

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Response by:

Mitchell C Rashkin, MD Mitchell C Rashkin, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati