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 Post subject: Asthma
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:52 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Jersey, British Channel Islands
I only really started cycling 'seriously' this year with a determined effort to get the miles in with proper training but over the last few weeks I felt like I hit a plateau and my performance actually decreased slightly. I'm built for climbing but once the lactate builds up I have real trouble recovering so I have had to avoid long climbs. I kind of figured it was just my fitness level but although I feel much stronger on the bike my cardio just isn't keeping up and I started getting chest pain when trying harder. To cut a long story short, I went to the Doctor a couple of days ago and I was told I have asthma.

I now feel like i'm doomed to a life of being dropped from any group ride I dare to join. I had very mild Asthma as a child which cleared as I hit my teens so I knew i had poor lung capacity but I was confident I could overcome that to a reasonably competitive level through training. Is anyone here riding with Asthma? Is there any way I can train to beat it or do I just need to accept it and buy a nice set of touring panniers for my race bike? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cycling anyway but I started to think I might have finally found a sport I can be good at and now this.

Any support appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:15 pm
Posts: 36
I too have asthma and it started to bother me when i started getting back into running a few years ago. I also visited the doctor and just got a updated inhaler that I keep with me. From my experience, it may take a bit longer to make the progress than you're hoping for (compared those without it) but if you pace yourself in how much you are building in training, then your tolerance of asthma could do the same. (thats what i experienced) When I started riding it would hinder me to the point of 20 miles at 20mph would ruin me for a day, but after two years I'm able to do much longer rides at a higher heart rate without a problem (riding 112mi in lake tahoe in three weeks for IMLT, hope the fires are put out!). I think you just need to be careful but don't let it get you down! And ALWAYS carry your inhaler, regardless of how often if ever you need it. If you don't have one, get one.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:46 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
Posts: 629
Inhaler definitely helps... I just about threw up after my first couple crits this season. Races went much better once I started taking the albuterol beforehand. I don't think it's a death sentence for cycling, you can still train your cardiovascular to improve, but your base starting point for training is definitely gonna be lower than other people. After a couple months of training after a long break, I was able to pretty much double my peak expiratory flow, so you can definitely still improve your lungs. But I definitely feel lung/heart rate limited way more often than fatigue in my legs.
I don't know if there's anything really different for training other than making sure you're taking your medication. Basically every cyclist is doing the same thing; trying to improve their breathing/cardio to ensure a higher sustainable power.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Posts: 1737
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma about 5 years ago. I was wheezing hard enough in races that people were asking if I was ok, and on a group training ride someone said "get some Albuterol!" as the group dropped me.

I got tested at Stanford. It was supposed to be a treadmill test but I can't run so I brought in a bike and trainer. Even though the room was warm and dry and I get symptoms when it's cold and wet the measurements showed I have asthma. I've probably had it all my life but I thought it was normal to wheeze when exercising hard.

I've gone through a couple different medications, which seems to be typical. It doesn't always work- in some races I'll still get some wheezing- but it works most of the time.

I know racers who are more successful than me who have worse asthma. I would not let it keep you from racing.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:35 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Geneva
It's really not a death sentence at all, you just need to get the right meds. There's lots of newer stuff out there aside from the usual salbutamol inhaler which are more preventitive rather than just treating the symptoms when they arise (in both pill and inhaler form, I use Symbicort for example).

Fwiw, I also had a few bouts from about 10-15 years old, usually virally induced and then it went away completely until I was 25 when it came back after I got pneumonia and has kinda lingered ever since. I didn't really address it for a while and then I finally went to a lung specialist to work out exactly the medication that would work best and also to do some physiotherapy in order to learn how to breath better (some yoga exercises really) and also how to clear my lungs of phlem etc more effectively. Since getting that sorted out, my lung capacity is back and probably better than ever at age 36.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:43 am 
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Posts: 1981
A good proportion of the pro peloton have it. (Exercise induced)
I don't think it's going to cause you any issues.
If it does, take up swimming, the breathing drills/discipline will help a lot. Puffing and panting like a fat kid chasing an ice cream van will just make it worse. You can't do that in the pool.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:19 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Denmark
I have asthma also I found out 2 years ago after a REALLY bad cold, with the right medicine you will just as fast as your competitors. In the beginning I used seretide and I had night cramps 4 nights a week in my leg even with no training at all. Now I'm on flixotide inhaler, one inhalation every 12 hours only when I lie down and laugh I feel a bit of wheezing afterwards.

@ultyguy what kind of medicine do you use and how much?


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:37 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:35 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Geneva
Symbicort 200/6. 2 inhalations twice daily, though I try and cut back to just 1 inhalation twice daily in times of the year when I'm not as likely to get sick or not training specifically. I needed a TEU before but since 2012 it's off the list in 'reasonable' doses.

Edit- I also use Nasnonex in conjunction to keep from feeling stuffed up a lot too.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:52 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Jersey, British Channel Islands
Thanks for the all the comments, I feel much more positive about it now. I went for my first ride today since seeing the doc. Just set out on a short circuit to stay close to home as I wasn't sure how i would react to the meds. I don't notice any improvement from the Beclometasone preventer but he said to give it 4 weeks so maybe it takes a while to start working. I think I might have a bit of a mild chest infection which is exaggerating the symptoms, It's much worse currently than it has been the past few months. I had two puffs of Salbutamol 20 mins before setting out and felt great for the first 20 mins of riding, much better than I ever have in fact. After that though I started getting breathless and wheezy and ended up stopping after one 10km circuit. I would usually do 60km on a Saturday so more evidence of an infection.

I will go to the doc again next month and try to get a referral to the Respiratory Specialist as judging by his reaction when I said I was cycling 20-40 miles a day he isn't used to dealing with Asthma sufferers that exercise. I actually work at the local hospital preparing medical notes for the Respiratory clinics but I can't be given an appointment without a referral from a GP/family doctor. I can at least ask the respiratory nurse for some inhaler usage tips etc.

In the meantime I may be forced to borrow some cash and treat myself to a set of Enve 25's. Purely for medical reasons of course.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:19 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Denmark
[imgImage

Uploaded with ImageShack.us][/img]I wouldn't go deep as long as you don't feel 100%, have patience (weeks) If you are really keen on training maybe do some weight training where you hear rate won't be so high. Hang in there


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Posts: 1737
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
If you want to race a power meter or a coach will do a lot more for your racing performance than a set of wheels. And borrowing money for a hobby is never a good idea.

A doctor friend (who also races) taught me to purse my lips when breathing. Having some back pressure when you exhale helps keep the bronchial tubes inflated. It's kind of weird at first but you get used to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:37 am
Posts: 133
Location: Perth W.A
I too have asthma , mine is induced from having wet pleurisy three times and cysts on my lungs from ongoing chest infections, and idiot me tried to continue to train thru it making it worse.
I take a turbo inhaler twice a day , and do progressive lung exercises ... inhale 1/5th capacity and without exhaling take in another 1/5th and continue until you can't take in any more, hold it for 30 sec then release it the same way you took it in.
This and a Turbo Inhaler has done wonders for me.
Also take an antihistamine daily , if yours is allergy related in anyway it will help out.
Iron tablets with vit C will help with your blood/oxygen, if you are feeling latic saturation after hills [as I did] take your inhaler and walk for 3km after the ride , slowly.

Hope this helps

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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:35 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Geneva
Yup, had the displeasure of pleurisy too. Man that felt like someone was stabbing me in the chest, horrific!


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:52 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Jersey, British Channel Islands
Clubagreenie wrote:
I too have asthma , mine is induced from having wet pleurisy three times and cysts on my lungs from ongoing chest infections, and idiot me tried to continue to train thru it making it worse.
I take a turbo inhaler twice a day , and do progressive lung exercises ... inhale 1/5th capacity and without exhaling take in another 1/5th and continue until you can't take in any more, hold it for 30 sec then release it the same way you took it in.
This and a Turbo Inhaler has done wonders for me.
Also take an antihistamine daily , if yours is allergy related in anyway it will help out.
Iron tablets with vit C will help with your blood/oxygen, if you are feeling latic saturation after hills [as I did] take your inhaler and walk for 3km after the ride , slowly.

Hope this helps


Is this progressive breathing something you do for a few repetitions or for a certain amount of time?

I have been using an antihistamine nasal spray called Beconase but discovered it contains the same active ingredient as the preventer inhaler so need to check with a doctor whether I can use both.

@eric; you are probably right, I could buy in cash in a few months time but then I don't get to try it out on the summer roads. I'm not sure how much I would gain from having a power meter without being able to interpret the numbers. There is no reason why I couldn't buy one in the new year though if i change my mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:16 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Asthma
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:57 pm
Posts: 1
Hey Noiseboy
As you I have Asthma. If your medication is optimal or near it, your performance would not be decreased at all. As an example 25% of the danish athletes that participated in London 2012 had asthma.
Have you been to an allergy test? Often asthma and allergy comes together. I have both and would recommend being tested for it. I live in Denmark and we have free healthcare so I got tested in every asthma- and allergy test that exists. I also recommend to take care of not spending to much time in humid weather and smoke of all sorts in the air.
And as an other users mention I will mention it once more: "Always bring the seizure-inhaler with you in every situation."


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