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Old 10-25-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
Austin Bray
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train through or around asthma?

I've searched for an answer on this, but couldn't really find anything.

so I'm 6' 214lbs 29yo male. been crossfitting for a little over a year now. (weighed 245 back then) My Crossfit Total has seen fantastic results(885 as of 2 hours ago), and my metcon has gone up pretty nicely.

So My question is, If I do a workout that I know will give me a wheeze (anything involving running or sustained effort) am I doing permanent damage to my lungs? Should I stick to rowing and cycling for my LSD since they don't bother my asthma? Am I conditioning my lungs by pushing through on a long run or causing more damage?
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:24 PM   #2
Mike Neill
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Re: train through or around asthma?

Obviously you haven't been to a doctor. Start there. There are drugs that can keep you 100% symptom free at all times and under all conditions.

You are not damaging your lungs. The wheezing is caused by the lung tissue's oversensitivity. When the tissue is irritated, it releases chemicals that cause the passages to constrict. Asthma drugs reduce or eliminate this sensitivity. Exerting yourself through an attack doesn't do anything to your lungs but it's bad for your whole body and your odds of living to be an old man.

This sensitivity is at a subtle molecular level and it cannot be trained through. It's not exactly the same but it's sort of like breathing a poison gas. Is doing it a lot going to make it less poisonous? Same with asthma. You're not going to wheeze less just because you wheeze a lot or often. The sensitivity is what it is. The only exception might be if you live in a place with a lot of air pollution. Moving to a cleaner place (and/or supporting clean air regulations) may help.

However, as long as the symptoms go untreated they can get worse. They can get worse over the long haul of months and years, and they can also get worse all it once in a matter of minutes during an attack. Worst case, you can die although the chance of death depends on the overall long-term severity of your asthma. During an asthma attack, you are suffocating. That's not an exaggeration. It's that simple. Does that sound healthy? If the asthma attack is bad enough, your heart stops because the muscle can't work from lack of oxygen just as if you are being strangled. Go to a doctor. The medicines that fix this have been around a long time and are well-proven.

You are not training well or smart or being a tough guy by "pushing through" an asthma attack. Your body is having a serious bad reaction to the exertion. By not getting treatment you are putting yourself under useless stress that in the long term will tear you down. Most assuredly the problem will not go away. You're not going to train through it or around it. Sometimes it may seem to be not so bad but that will be because the weather and air quality are most favorable, not because the condition has improved.

To be properly conditioned you have to get the air your body needs for its level of exertion. You are not getting the full training effect if you wheezing with asthma. Go to a doctor.

Last edited by Mike Neill; 10-25-2008 at 10:34 PM..
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:43 PM   #3
Frank E Morel
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Re: train through or around asthma?

you realize that having untreated asthma is a dangerous road to wander down? If your asthma is bad and you breathing not efficiently your will alter the blood chemistry which leads to acidosis in the blood and die. Your windpipe, could go into spasm and close shut which you will die. Your lungs could develop into stiff tissue which could rupture causing a collapsed lung and you could die. Or if your having an asthma and your stilling managing to breath along but not optimal, but your chest muscles tire and weaken... you suffocate and die. Every year about 4000 people in the US die from asthma.

Its still a treatable disease process, even the mild versions of exercised induced are manageable with education and medication.
Go see A DOCTOR.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:42 PM   #4
Emily Maisannes
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Re: train through or around asthma?

I agree with the others. I will say that not all kinds of asthma are 100% treatable, even with today's leaders in drugs. My mother will never be able to do a CF-type of program because of her asthma. Period. Her lungs are way too sensitive. She compensates for her inability by doing exercises at a lower intensity over a much longer period of time every day. She can dedicate that much time every day to exercise since she is retired.

However, I would highly recommend seeing a pulmonologist who is willing to be aggressive with drugs. You are doing yourself a great service by doing CF, but you could benefit by seeing a pulmonologist. If you are able to do CF at all, you're in good shape as far as your lungs are concerned. You probably just need to dial it in with the meds in order to get more performance output.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about different drugs and my mother's experiences with them. You're lucky that today's drugs are so far above and beyond what was available 15 years ago.

Congrats on the weight loss and strength progress so far. Getting the asthma under control will only make it easier!
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:51 PM   #5
Frank E Morel
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Re: train through or around asthma?

emily... you mom has Asthma or COPD ? ... same symptoms.. different diseases = different medication.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:21 AM   #6
Aileen Reid
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Re: train through or around asthma?

I wheeze at different times, doing intervals it can be quite bad, in cold air and in high humidity. But I've been gone over for asthma and I haven't got it. I just take a reliever before running/heavy exercise and it seems to work. I think its partly allergy related but its just so erratic. Mind you after I had a really bad bout of bronchitis last year I did actually get what felt like asthma for a while, it was frightening. I did go to the doc and had a steroid puffer as well for a while and gradually it went away.
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Old 10-27-2008, 04:56 AM   #7
Frank M Needham
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Re: train through or around asthma?

I posted a question about the topic a few years back, here's the thread:
http://www.board.crossfit.com/showth...ghlight=asthma
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:12 AM   #8
Emily Maisannes
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Re: train through or around asthma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank E Morel View Post
emily... you mom has Asthma or COPD ? ... same symptoms.. different diseases = different medication.
She was diagnosed with asthma when I was 11 after a year of chronic pneumonia. She has never been the same since. Just this year she made it through a consecutive 12 month period without a hospital visit, but up until 5 years ago, it was about every 3 months or so that she would be admitted. She is in the care of a pulmonologist, cardiologist, endocrinologist (yep, diabetes happened at the same time as prednizone), in addition to her GP. It has been a long and difficult road. She is doing better now than she ever has, and is absolutely unstoppable at 72. She'll be 73 in six weeks.
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:23 PM   #9
Robert Pierce
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Re: train through or around asthma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Neill View Post
You are not damaging your lungs.
This is not necessarily true. Some asthma patients develop irreversible changes in lung function as a result of airway remodeling. This can even occur with therapy that appears to be adequate.

Emily, recurrent pneumonia may be a symptom of asthma, rather than the other way around.

Agree with advice to see a physician.
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Last edited by Robert Pierce; 10-27-2008 at 06:24 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:25 AM   #10
Charity East
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Re: train through or around asthma?

I've had this conundrum as well. I was born with severe asthma (mom smoked while I was pregnant THANKS MOM!) and was on 3 steroid pills a day and 2 inhalers up until I was 16 years old. I was so sick of being medicated that I took the time to learn what my triggers were and how best to manage an attack when it happened (basically a very focused breathing meditation and removal of myself from the trigger).Unfortunately, that put me out of most activity. When I started Crossfit, I decided that I would not let my asthma be an excuse. There are plenty of athletes out there with it. But I was hesitant of going back on all the drugs my doctors had been pushing at me for the past decade. Finally after a particularly bad asthma attack (Murph I believe it was). I was so upset that I finally went to my doctor to talk about managing it. Because I knew what my triggers were, I was able to get away with 2 puffs of an inhaler about 30-45 minutes before my workout. My lungs burn and I shake but I can breathe.
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