Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Guest Blogger: Carol writes about Exertion Asthma

Meet Carol Green Kjar. (We call her "The Other Carol Green") She writes: "I have a long-time husband and an empty nest. I worked as a natural resources technical writer/editor for a government agency while my already retired husband traveled the U.S. without me. I got tired of that pretty quick so I took early retirement and joined him. We travel a lot so he can go bicycling and hiking.  I like to stay in camp to read, write, and cook. When I'm home, I love to sew and quilt."
Carol blogs as C.S. Kjar and writes clean fiction.  Find her book, The Treasure of Adonis, HERE.


Exertion Asthma
I admire people who can run and feel the air rush by their faces as they move along so smoothly and fast.  I admire people who are in great shape and can do anything they want.  I envy them all.  Why?  Because I can’t.
I have a condition called exertion asthma.  It’s a lot like chronic asthma except it only comes on during physical exertion or strenuous activities.  The airways in the lungs narrow from inflammation and don’t hold as much air as exercise demands.  Breathing is wheezy and hard, the chest is tight which prevents breathing deeply, and fatigue comes fast because the muscles aren’t getting the oxygen they need.  I’ve learned to live with my exertion asthma and life is good.
As I got older, more symptoms set in.  Along with tightness in my chest, my arms feel funny, tingly, or numb.  I got scared it was my heart so I insisted my doctor order a stress test for me.  My test lasted for about 5 minutes because by then I could hardly breathe at all.  The doctor pulled me off the treadmill and said my heart was fine.  It was my lungs that were bad.  I was so relieved that my heart was good that I didn’t care about the asthma.
For me, the asthma symptoms start a few minutes after strenuous effort.   Even fast walking can trigger it.  When I stop, my breathing returns to normal in a few minutes so the symptoms disappear quickly.  I had an inhaler for a while and it helped a little, but not enough to keep using it.  I decided the warnings about the side effects outweighed the benefits of using it so I stopped.
When I do something strenuous like going up stairs, up a hill, or walking at a fast pace, I have to stop to catch my breath fairly often.  I don’t mind it.  I have time to enjoy the scenery which is really what I’m outside to see.  If I go too fast for too long, I suck air like a jet engine.   I’ve sucked in my share of bugs.  They’re nasty tasting without being dipped in chocolate.  I’ve choked on them quite often so it’s a good idea to take water along.
My asthma was a handicap only once that I remember.  I was doing field work with the Forest Service and we were two ridges away from our truck when a thunderstorm blew in.  We got a radio call that there was a tornado warning and to get out there as fast as we could.  Everyone set off for the truck at a fast jog.  We went down one ridge up another, down and up again.  I was lagging behind, but could hardly breathe by the time I got to the truck.  Everyone kept asking me if I was okay.  No, I wasn’t, but I wasn’t going to be left behind to be struck by lightning or swept up in a tornado.
So someday, if you go running past a heavy breathing walker, please don’t laugh.  Don’t taunt.  Don’t pity.  It may be the best he or she can do.  Be thankful for your good lungs and take care of them so you have a life of easy breathing.
Get to know Carol Kjar better by visiting her blog or pick up a copy of The Treasure of Adonis on Amazon and Kindle.
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Happy Running!

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