Vigorous exercise can sometimes trigger symptoms similar to an asthma attack in athletes. The symptoms of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness with exercise. Though these symptoms are more common in people with asthma (where the condition is then known as exercise-induced asthma), they can also occur in people without it. Unfortunately, symptoms often go unrecognized and unreported and some athletes will wrongly blame them on a lack of physical conditioning.
Proper diagnosis and treatment allows athletes with exercise-induced asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction to continue to excel and participate fully in their sports. The American Thoracic Society currently recommends a standardized exercise challenge test as the best way to confirm the diagnosis. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that might be due to exercise induced asthma or bronchoconstriction.