Exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction is a condition that often strikes young athletes and is frequently misdiagnosed as asthma, NPR reports.
The problems started when Reese Tempest entered sixth grade. She had always loved running, but now her track team training was triggering severe breathing difficulties.
“I gutted it out and cried all the time. One race, I even passed out,” Reese recalls.
Justin Tempest, Reese’s father and junior high cross-country coach, and her mother, Cameron Tempest, first blamed the heat and humidity in Virginia and seasonal allergies. Her pediatrician gave her a basic spirometry test, which examines air exhaled, and diagnosed Reese with exercise-induced asthma. But Cameron — who had experienced asthma as a collegiate swimmer — wasn’t convinced. Her daughter’s symptoms were different, and they weren’t improving with inhalers.
So they brought her to the University of Virginia’s hospital for a complete pulmonology and cardiac work-up and a VO2 max test. The result? Reese learned she did have exercise-induced asthma, but she also had a lesser-known condition that affects how much air you inhale. It’s called exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction, or EILO.