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Asthma, Migraine Headaches, Heart Rate, Air Temperature and Skating

eebee's picture

Upon turning 13 I suddenly developed asthma plus various animal allergies. It's certainly manageable and has never been life-threatening to me. However, it is an issue each year at the end of Winter when I crave skating again, and have to remember not to 'go out too fast'.

In the interwoven chain-reactions of my health, I am trying to beat what I call 'lack of exercise'-induced asthma without the aid of an inhaler. Why? Because I'm also trying a dietarily 'natural' approach to beating daily headaches and weekly migraines. Why? Because I have been hooked on caffeine and it stole my personality, made me crabby, and I'm convinced, gave me symptoms of and official diagnosis of Fibromyalgia from my Doc (tsk! What does he know?). After reading "Heal your Headache: the  1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of your Pain" by Johns Hopkins Neurologist David Buchholz, I have decided to give his program a shot, and among his list of 'triggers' to avoid, are some asthma medications. Mine is plain old Albuterol - not on Buchholz's list, but I'm a believer in prevention first, meds later.

Asthma is an issue for me in temperatures below 60 deg F.. The more deeply or rapidly I breathe in this colder air, the more dramatic the asthma becomes. This is mainly monitorable through watching my heart-rate. Since I have practically not exercised since last year's A2A in October 2006, it doesn't take much to get my heart rate up to migraine + asthma levels, which for me is anywhere over 150! I'm skating around the park in speedskates, bolt upright like an Ipod Reckie minus the short-shorts and pretty hair. Bearing in mind that the 'age' method of calculating my anaerobic threshold would put me around 181 for 90% or so, that makes for consistently slow skating. I believe the highest number I ever saw on my heart-rate monitor was 187, and it coincided with spotty vision :-)

So as a happy guinea pig I'm now going out to skate a very easy course at my local park, either on a slightly undulating trail, dotted with families 5 abreast or clothesline dogs (and even a great dane walking an 8 year old - let's see, who'd win that contest?), or the flat 1/3 mile oval around the football field with a prevailing half-lap head- or tailwind. Basically, nothing strenuous. Keeping my heart-rate under 150 is only a challenge if I space out and forget what I'm doing and why. Then when the wheezing/drowning sensations begin, I scale it back immediately. So far after 3 or 4 times of trying this, I have noticed no ensuing migraine or wheezing chronic enough to warrant a puff of steroids.

What I am hoping, is that I will progress to better stamina, endurance and resistance to asthma/migraines even after skating intervals, fartleks or big hills :-). The tricky thing about asthma with exercise, is that it peaks 10 minutes after you finish skating. What used to happen to me was that I'd blow out my heart rate on a 30 mile 'easy' trail skate, tear off my equipment, leap into my car and head off back home, only to be suddenly gasping for air on the expressway. It's a wonder I didn't wreck, fumbling for my inhaler in my bottomless purse at 70 mph!

I will post any progress I note between now and late Spring. It's a good excuse for base-training, at least!


(Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor . This is my experiment for me, not you. Use your inhaler and don't sue me 'cuz I have a net worth of negative $1,000,000)

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