Friday, 21 September 2007

Suck it in

Well, it’s real and absolutely official – I do have exercise induced asthma. I did a bronchial challenge test yesterday afternoon in the Respiratory Lab at Royal Melbourne, and had the results analysed and interpreted this morning by my (new) sports physician who is a leading expert in exercise induced asthma.

The challenge test yesterday, very simply, was sucking treated air out of a very large balloon and breathing it back out through a meter. The more air you breathe, the more reliable the peak flow tests that are performed after you empty the balloon. The post-balloon emptying peak flow tests suggest that there is more going on than just asthma, although there is a definite indication of asthma in the tests. So whilst I can churn through a large volume of air, I don’t do it as efficiently and effectively as a fit racing cyclist should (well, that’s my understanding of what the doc said this morning).

An issue I had with the testing is that the balloon test is meant to replicate the hardest workout you’d ever do. For me, it was about 80% of the hardest workout. If I rode a pursuit at that rate, I’d be very disappointed that I didn’t ride hard enough. I did enough yesterday (after having some initial pace-setting from the test administrator) to well and truly pass the test, with an “A” on the report card for balloon emptying.

So more testing is scheduled. Week after next I am back in the Doc’s room, on my trainer, pumping out pursuit efforts so she can see what’s going on, how I actually breathe, and what happens at various stages of exercise. Hopefully, with regular use of a preventer (one I have used with only partial success in the past) and some breathing training, I can get some real control over the asthma, so it doesn’t come visiting when I need to be breathing free.


Lisa said...

While having Asthma can be frustrating, at least now you know what's happening and can treat it accordingly.

I've had asthma my entire life and have to take preventative morning and night, but its worth it to breath:D Mine normally flares up when I get sick and cold air so I need to take lots of care and precautions over winter. While in the last 5 years it hasn't affected me while exercising I have probably never pushed myself enough to find out - track could change that ;)

I checked the ASADA site the other day and my preventative is on the 'needs a letter from your dr' list and so is the other stuff I sometimes have to take for it.

I will be interested to read of what further tests show

cfsmtb said...

Virtually all of the respiratory problems cleared up 12-13 years ago when I ceased smoking, although there's still issues with the inner ear channels which in turn assist to partially screw up my balance. Another thing to work on, in due course!