Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why does my chest get congested after exercising?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy does my chest get congested after exercising?


I don?t have any breathing problems, but whenever I exercise or go for a run, my chest gets very congested afterward. Is this asthma? Why is my chest doing this?


Your symptoms sound concerning for exercise induced asthma. This is a type of asthma that only occurs when someone exercises. Asthma is an inflammation of the lower airways that can be caused by many triggers. Causes of asthma include allergies to various different things, exercise, and most often unknown causes. While we do not know why some people develop asthma only when they exercise, it does seem to effect many people. In order to diagnose this, you will need to have pulmonary function tests before and after you exercise, and before and after you use an asthma inhaler. Those that have this problem rarely need to take daily medications. Usually the use of an inhaler before and sometimes after exercise is enough to prevent the symptoms from occurring. Finally, if another trigger besides exercise is found to cause your symptoms, you will be able to further prevent them by avoiding that trigger. I think you can start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can do some in-office testing including getting your peak expiratory flow rate. This will tell your doctor whether or not you have some silent asthma without exercise. If your doctor is concerned that you may have exercise induced asthma, he or she will set you up with a definitive test.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.