The Asthma Center

Sports Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment


Diagnosis of EIB or sports asthma can be confirmed by evaluating your pulmonary function tests or peak flow rates before and after exercise. Usually there will be a fall of these measurements by more than 15% after exertion. The diagnosis can be confirmed by giving you a trial of a bronchodilator medication (e.g. albuterol, Maxair™, Ventolin®, Proventil®, etc.) before exercise in an attempt to prevent or lessen the symptoms of EIB or Sports Asthma.


  • Optimize control of underlying asthma with a comprehensive treatment program
  • Warm up prior to engaging in sports and cool down afterwards
    Physical conditioning
  • Use bronchodilators (Proventil®, Ventolin®, albuterol, Maxair™) 15 - 30 minutes prior to exercise
  • Use mast cell inhibitors (Intal® or Tilade®) 30 - 60 minutes prior to exercise
  • Consider optional treatments including: Long acting bronchodilators each morning (Serevent®, Foradil®); Leukotriene modifiers (Accolate®, Singulair®) or theophylline

If you have underlying chronic asthma, you can often optimize your treatment with a combination of medications that include inhaled corticosteroids and long acting bronchodilators which assist in limiting exercise-related asthma symptoms by optimally controlling asthma and raising the threshold to stimuli.