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Gary Ohm 02-03-2009 04:15 PM

lung issues
I've been having some lung issues. Here is some background:
I'm 40 years old and never smoked. I was primarily an endurance athlete through my 20's. The only family lung issues I have are that my grandfather died of emphysema after smoking for 70 years. When I was about 10 or so my local YMCA held a Thanksgiving Day "turkey trot" road race. I grew up in Northern Wyoming so it was pretty cold that day (near zero +/-). I had never run any sort of race in my life so when the gun went off I did too and did my best to keep up with the adults. When I finally finished the race I started coughing. I coughed for about six months.
To my knowlege it was never diagnosed as pneumonia. I always felt fine except for a constant cough. During exercise the cough would come back with a vengence. This continued for a number of years. Finally I could most types training without coughing but when I went "hard" the cough would come back but only for a day or two....
Fast foreword to about a year ago. I have become a HIIT nut. I cannot get enough of it. I do burpees intervals and sledgehammer intervals and hill sprints and Fran's and every other fun thing under the sun. I had been getting to the point where my lungs only feel tight after the workout and maybe for the rest of the day but they are recovered by the next day for sure.
Now fast foreword to about four months ago. I caught a ripping virus that progressed to bronchitis which lasted for about a month. Aside from that my body felt and feels great. I am sleeping fine, my weight is fine, I don't feel weak, and my overall energy is better than most. Last week I caught another lung bug. It has knocked my on my ***. Prior to that my hard workouts have left me coughing and tight in the chest pretty much constantly. This has been the case for about six weeks.
I guess my question(s) is/are somewhat as follows: is it possible that I somehow did permanent damage to my lungs 30 years ago? My initial hunch is that my lungs would have regenerated by now. Second, does hard interval training predispose a person to lung sickness? Has anyone else had this sort of trouble? Is there anything that I can do besides back way off the intensity of the workouts?

Thanks for any advice, and I apologize for the rambling. I'll try to clarify anything that you need me to.

Ari Kestler 02-03-2009 04:20 PM

busy right now, but just off the top of my head and brief read, ever thought of exercise-induced asthma?

You could also find out what type of emphysema your dad had, it was likely secondary to cancer, but just in case there was something else super-imposed on top (there are numerous types of emphysema) would be helpful to know...granted if you did have some sort of genetic predisposition towards emphysema, you would likely know about it by now. I'd stick with looking into exercise induced asthma...

Gary Ohm 02-03-2009 04:46 PM

Thanks Ari,
I have indeed considered EIA. What treatments are there aside from inhalers? Is it possible to train through or around it? I'm not sure what sort of emphysema my grandfather had. He died 25 years ago. I did not realize there were different types or that there would be a predisposition. It makes sense now that you mention it. I can try to find out.

Steven Low 02-03-2009 05:04 PM

Hard intervals compromise the immune system because it goes to repair the muscular damage caused by exercise.

I've recently came down with 2 bugs after some not-so-hard intervals (but I am out of lower body shape), so IMO that's probably what's going on. You just need to build up slower and let your body adapt to the hard stress.

Gary Ohm 02-03-2009 05:08 PM

That was in the back of my mind as well Steven. I think that is indeed the case. I guess starting slow is the key (once again). Is it possible to "out train" exercise induced asthma? It seems like if I were to SLOWLY get in to "really good" condition, then my exercise induced asthma would trigger only after greater and greater efforts. Does that make sense?

Steven Low 02-03-2009 05:24 PM

From what I've seen MOST exercise induced asthma can be "cured" by breathing mostly through the nose. This humidifies the air as it enters your air passageways more than the mouth which leads to less drying of the throat ESPECIALLY during the winter. Dry throat tends to cause more coughing.. possibly constriction although I'm not sure about that. One of my friends swears by this as it helped eliminate his exercise induced asthma.

It's true that asthma can go away as you get in better shape.. but not always. If you're a mouth breather then switch and see if it helps.

Craig Brown 02-03-2009 06:43 PM

You might also visit a naturopath or herbalist- there's herbals that honestly will help with lung stuff.

Mike ODonnell 02-03-2009 07:06 PM

Is there alot of dairy in your diet? (If so....go on an elimination diet...no dairy)

and you can research this yourself....some claim ACV (apple cider vinegar) can help with asthma....seriously I think this stuff is claimed to cure everything....but who knows, if it doesn't help...you only spend $4 and probably improve your digestive tract in the process.

Gary Ohm 02-03-2009 07:46 PM

I do love dairy. But it's not a mucous type of congestion that I am feeling. I understand that the trouble many folk have with dairy manifests itself with thick and copius mucous.
I have been reading alot about ACV. Do you just drink it in shots? Or do you cut it with water or add other stuff? Actually I guess I can google it just as well. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into it.

Allen Yeh 02-04-2009 02:14 AM

I have EIA but haven't had an attack in years, I still keep my inhaler prescriptions current though because the time I'll really need one will be the time I won't have one. Your symptoms don't sound that simliar to mine in regards to EIA but I know everyone is different and I'm definitely not an astma expert. Things that I've changed that seemed to help me are that I eat more paloe-ish than I used to, fish oil, and watching out for triggers.

Have you ever had a pulmonary function test? Any types of scans? Not to be an alarmist but getting a tightness in the chest after every workout I did would be of some concern to me.

In regards to ACV I prefer to throw some in water, it doesn't matter which you do as long as you can stomach a tablespoon of it.

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