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"Why do I wheeze after running?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I wheeze after running?


I'm a 27yr old male, in decent shape and exercise at least five times a week. I do not have a history of asthma attacks or other respiratory problems. However, after high intensity cardio workouts (long runs, upwards of 25 minutes for example) I will occasionally wheeze, cough, and sneeze uncontrollably. This will last sometimes up to 12 hours after the exercise.


Your symptoms of wheezing and coughing after high-intensity workouts may be a signal of having an underlying reactive airways problem, such as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Bronchoconstriction refers to the tightening of the small airways in the lungs, similar to what occurs in patients with asthma. Exercise often causes worsening of asthma symptoms in patients that already carry a diagnosis of asthma, but can occasionally cause asthma-like symptoms in otherwise-healthy adults who have not been diagnosed with asthma in the past. Typically these symptoms peak after 10-15 minutes of exercise and can linger around for a while, usually an hour or so, but occasionally there is a "late-phase" of the bronchoconstriction which can cause symptoms to return or persist hours later. In any case, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction should be further investigated in patients that do not otherwise have known lung disease such as asthma to make sure that there is no other cause of your symptoms (such as acid reflux disease or vocal cord spasm). You should see your primary care physician, who can order pulmonary function testing or an exercise challenge test to formally make the diagnosis of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. If this is the case, then your doctor may be able to prescribe you an inhaler to ease your symptoms.

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