Asthma and Olympic Athletes

Going for the Gold with Asthma

(February 7, 2014)

Is your asthma holding you back? Do you ever avoid exercise or participating in sports because you fear the possibility of having an asthma attack? Before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, many people felt stuck and forced to deal with their asthma symptoms on their own since they could not afford to see a doctor. Thankfully, since the law’s passage, many asthma sufferers are discovering they now have greater access to care. By working with a health care provider and taking asthma medication (as directed by your doctor), you can enjoy an active lifestyle with asthma.

Having asthma doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the activities you love. In fact, you might be surprised to know many world-class athletes have asthma. To perform at the highest level, these athletes refuse to let their asthma slow them down. Despite the odds against them, athletes who get the care they need can manage their symptoms to the point where they can reach the highest form of competition. Two amazing examples of American athletes with asthma can be found in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick and figure skater Charlie White.

Depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms, working with a skilled provider every 6-12 months is important if you want to better manage your asthma. Now, with the expansion of Medicaid in many states, access to care for many asthma sufferers is now within reach. Don’t miss the opportunity to take control of your asthma today. Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act can help you.

Any athlete with asthma knows that controlling their disease and preventing symptoms is critical to their performance. By working closely with a health care professional, these athletes are able to prevent wheezing, coughing and sudden asthma flare-ups. For many people who suffer from asthma daily, it may take several visits to their primary health care provider or pulmonary specialist to find the right combination of asthma medicines that allow them to be healthy and active.

If you find yourself reaching for your rescue inhaler more than two times per week, it’s likely your asthma is keeping you from enjoying the quality of life you deserve. The same is true if you find yourself feeling winded or tired when performing simple tasks like climbing a flight of stairs or completing household chores.

Many people are unaware that asthma lasts a lifetime. Allergies to dust or other pollutants can trigger potentially severe asthma symptoms. Some people find their asthma only bothers them during certain times of the year. You can even find people whose asthma symptoms go away for years only to suddenly reappear. For instance, factors such as stress, developing another disease (i.e., heart disease, diabetes, etc.), moving to an area with air that’s not as clean, and decreased lung capacity due to aging are all ways asthma symptoms can resurface.

That’s why it’s important for children and adults to have an asthma check-up at least once a year. With greater access to medical care, many people now have a greater chance to be symptom free, despite having asthma. By choosing and working with a specialist who knows how to manage your symptoms, you won’t have to cope on your own.

No one should have to struggle to breathe or feel constant tightness in his or her chest. With an asthma management plan in place, there should be nothing holding you back from going after Olympic gold other than your determination.