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asthma cycling winter??(19 posts)

asthma cycling winter??andy02
Nov 17, 2003 7:15 AM
I can't seem to keep my lung from locking up in the cold!! I have been on advair 500/50 for about a year now and it has worked I went from 450 to 750l/min peak flow and racing this year was great. However, now that it is cold I am back to using my albertol (sp?) 15-20min before riding or I fell like I have gained about 40pounds. It isn't like I am really wheezing or that I fell like I can't breath but I hit LT at what should be easy spinning. I have heard that I should warm up slowly inside then go out but it isn't easy I either have to put all of my gear on and sweat like crazy on rollers or change after the rollers to go outside and by then I have cooled down again. My doc also said I could try adding singulair but d!!m I am already on the max inhaler dose and nasonex! Anybody dealing with this?? Oh my peakflow after a ride without using the albertol is 550 with it is still only 600-650. the best I have ever done was this summer at 900 for a 5 foot 8 inch 135 pound male that is huge (the doc didin't belive it until she did better measurments in the office)
i feel your pain!_rt_
Nov 17, 2003 8:27 AM
wow! 450 to 750?! that's amazing. advair didn't do that much for best peak flow even with advair was 420!!

i've got the same problem breathing in the winter. one thing that has been suggested to me is to wear a bandana or something over my nose & mouth so that i am breathing warm rather than cold air. i find that the cold air causes my asthma to be worse. you'll look kind of dorky but at least it might be easier to breathe.

rt - currently off the advair (inhaled steroids wreaked havoc with my immune system) but taking singulair daily, intal 45 min pre-ride, & albuterol as needed.
breath slow.. through the nosecyclopathic
Nov 17, 2003 9:06 AM
I am not on inhaler (for reasons you had described!) I have asthma, and have to deal with it on occasions, more in winter or hard racing. A few tips:
- breath through the nose, asthma attacks triggered by cold/dry air.
- warm up slowly. spend first 1/2hr (45min-1hr in winter) warming up, HR in Zone1-2, before attempting LT level effort.
- dress warmer; you need to be dressed so after complete warm up you're at sweating point. you don't sweat, but you'd start to if you stop for a minute or two.
- if you get attack, slow down and spin out of it. Takes 20-30min, but you can recover.
- learn to live with w/o medication. Even if it means quit racing for a while. Taking as much as you do cannot be right.
- do LSD rides. Frankly, I had never had asthma attack 3hr into ride, no matter how hard I had to push at that point.
no advair=no cyclingandy02
Nov 17, 2003 9:29 AM
With out the advair I don't even make it through the night with weezing so I can't just quit. I will also do more damage to my lung (airway remodeling) if I stop. In the summer I don't have to use the albutrol at all and can sometimes drop to the advair 250/50. I may have to do slow easy ride outside during the winter week days due to lack of daylight. I can always go hard on the rollars after I come in. On the weekends a three to four hour ride that gives me time to warm up is fine.

I haven't had what I call a "real" attack (ie ER vist) in ten years or more but if I do have a mild attack on the bike the last thing I can do is slow down! For me if I feel a sudden attack comming on I can force my way through it by increasing my effort. It sounds werid but I use to do it alot running. This doesn't work if I start off in trouble, then I just suffer.

I think I will order a face mask today and see if that helps.
what doesn't kill me makes me stronger..cyclopathic
Nov 17, 2003 10:01 AM
hey, if you like pushing yourself to limits, don't complain about it :o). You have to slow down to give your body a chance to fight it. Asthma attackes are often triggered by offset pH balance, riding hard. I'd also suggest to cut down on spicy and acidity foods like pasta souce good luck
This is all good advice... but I want to add somethingrussw19
Nov 17, 2003 10:05 AM
I am not a doctor, but I suffered from the same thing you do when I lived in a colder area. I have asthma, but what was really going on for me was the cold was bringing on EIB attacks. EIB is excercise induced bronchospasms. They are often triggered by the cold air hitting your lungs causing the capillaries to retract. One of the best ways to avoid it is to heat the air coming into your lungs. Breathing thru your nose is best. However when it's cold out I would often stuff up with mucus, so you can always wear a mask to help heat the air first. Another thing that helped me was Clenbuterol, but it's hard to get anymore as it's often abused by bodybuilders, but it's like Albuterol Sulfate in that it's a Beta 2 Agonist that relaxes the muscles in your lungs to help prevent the spasms. I don't use anything anymore, so I am not as up to date as some others here may be, but I know that a simple Albuterol inhaler (Ventolin or Proventil) helped me with the cold air attacks. The worst attacks I ever had were from going from a warm environment (my house or work) to jumping right out on the bike and riding in the cold without warming up first. So take Cyclopathic's advice and make sure you warm up slowly if you know you are going out to excercise.

That's all I have to add, and if someone is more up to date on current meds for EIB, please share it with us.

ok ideas, but...desertmd
Nov 17, 2003 10:07 AM
Do not forget asthma can be fatal, and to think you can "spin" yourself out of an attack may just be careless. If your asthma is mild you might be able to do this, but still I would carry a rescue inhaler at all times. If you have asthma symptoms regularly, then medications are the best treatment (including inhaled steroids)- and frankly, you cannot learn to live without them (other than avoiding triggers) as the pathophysiology of asthma is beyond your conscious control. It is the best advice to always carry a rescue inhaler (albuterol), and to listen carefully to what the symptoms are telling you, though with the caveat that your condition could deteriorate, and if it were me, I would stop and use my inhaler at the first sign of symptoms and wait for them to resolve before resuming riding.
I used to carry inhaler in backpackcyclopathic
Nov 17, 2003 10:52 AM
now I am not sure where it is or when I had used it last time :) What I meant though you can't stop attack, you learn how to avoid them or at least soften a blow: your body gives all kind of signs b/f it hits you hard.

Plus it is easy to take simple precautions: don't start ride with climb, don't ride with hammerheads who try to drop you in first 2mi of ride, don't do long stops, dress properly and etc etc etc. Most of the time I had atack in first 1/2hr, never after 2hr in saddle, unless I stopped and cooled down.
i've had attacks 2 hrs into a ride..._rt_
Nov 17, 2003 10:55 AM
it sucks. but usually if i'm going to have an asthma attack it will be early in a ride. if i can, i'll slow down, use my inhaler (i've become quite adept at riding and inhaling at the same time!) and cruise until i can breath again. if i can't slow down (racing) i just suffer through & hope for the best.

sometimes you can't help but start a ride with a climb, but you're right that you can watch for the warning signs and do what you can to take precautions.

Agree - always early on or not at allRich_Racer
Nov 17, 2003 11:26 AM
I agree - I think once the air is being warmed up, it doesn't happen. Being in San Diego it's not an issue very often. Living in England it was quite a lot. I used to regularly take inhaler before exercise in the winter.

But it sounds like your (andy) asthma is worse than mine. I'd actually be worried that you're training your lungs to need the medication you're taking, though. It sounds like you need to detox a bit.
re: asthma cycling winter??Sadlebred
Nov 17, 2003 1:03 PM
Don't forget to talk to your doctor about any changes you want to make to your medication. Not doing so could have serious consequences such as a trip to the ER. Asthma is a serious disease, and it's a shame so many people have to deal with it. At least your breathing disorders have a treatment. Some of us are not so lucky. (EIVCD/EIL, what I suffer from, has no good treatments other than stopping the exercise during an attack.)
Nov 17, 2003 1:43 PM
One thing I used to use when I lived at home in the Baja desert was use a Balacava over my mouth and nose for the first 1/2 hour of my ride. Also ride slower than usual to allow your body to adapt to the conditions. Dress warm, and maybe even apply icy-hot on your chest to warm up the blood vessels in your chest.
re: asthma cycling winter??andy02
Nov 17, 2003 1:57 PM
I guess I will kill the singulair idea and try slower ride with a face mask when it is really cold. BUT

I can't stop taking the meds my doc and wife would hunt me down. I had childhood asthma but thought I out grew it in my early 20s. I got into tri's and raced a lot for several years but stopped when I was working on my ms degree. I still ran everyday but thought I was getting older or out of shape. My wife talked me into seeing the doc because I was weezing at night and she put me on a low dose advair increasing until I hit my max peak flow and then tried to back down. the doc say that if I let it go untreated I would do long term damage to my lungs. But the surprise was that I could run again! So I tried the bike and found that I was stronger then I thought. I know more cyclist then tri guys here and was asked to join a team. I love it! Cycling on a team is a lot better then a tri any day.

I do try to lower the dose of my meds when my peak flow is high enough but that only happens when the weather is nice, pollen+pollution is low, and I am in good shape. I ALWAY CARY A RESCUE INHALER!

Does anyone else check peakflows??
try dietcyclopathic
Nov 17, 2003 2:28 PM
it did help me to get it under control. It's been a few years but I still dream of hot tai, indian, mexican and some italian cusine. No lasagna, no meatballs in tomato sauce life is lame :(
Nov 17, 2003 2:57 PM
How did you start? Did you have to get ride of evrything at once? Or systimatic?
Nov 17, 2003 3:29 PM
just avoid foods which may cause heartburn. There was a study which showed strong correlation btw heartburn and asthma. And yes, systematic. I am not religious about it, I get some taco now and then and it takes a couple days to flush it. Good luck
Could be Reactive Airway Disease (or Disorder)...lanterne rouge
Nov 17, 2003 3:51 PM
My daughter was diagnosed with Coughing Asthma a few years back and we always wondered why she would get worse during cold spells or on our trips to Big Bear. Old country doctor from Montana that works in Big Bear diagnosed her with Reactive Airway Disorder (since confirmed with tests). Basically your airway closes in reaction to cold. He suggested 2 shots of Albuterol before snowboarding and always wear a turtle (sort of a wool face mask) to warm the breath before reaching your airway. It has done wonders for her. Could be part of your problem?
Here is something new to think about trying.MikeBiker
Nov 17, 2003 8:20 PM
Fish oil supplements may help serious athletes who suffer from exercise-induced asthma breathe easier, a new study shows.
thanks. interesting article..._rt_
Nov 18, 2003 6:44 AM
i'm lucky that i have access through work to the journal from which that article was taken. i printed both the study & the editorial. good stuff.