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Bronchospasm (bronchospasm) is a sudden, independent of the human will reaction of the muscles of the respiratory tract, which leads to the narrowing of the lumen of these pathways, which hinders gas exchange, i.e. breathing. What are the causes of bronchospasm and what symptoms are typical for this individual? What is the treatment of bronchospasm?

Bronchospasm( bronchospasm ) may be a consequence of a malfunctioning of the muscles that make up the walls of the bronchi, and sometimes of the bronchioles. The person experiences this as shortness of breath, which may be accompanied by tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.

People experiencing bronchospasm suffer from unproductive, paroxysmal coughing, and from sudden breathlessness (more often it affects exhaling than inhaling air).

During auscultation, the doctor hears whistles. It also happens that self-breathing is a hoot or wheeze. An annoying symptom is also an unpleasant pressure in the chest.

bronchospasm (bronchospasm): causes

Abnormal muscle tone, or spasticity, can be related to a wide variety of factors. May be related to a family history of bronchial asthma or allergies to pollen, mold, pet dander, dust, latex, food ingredients.

Another cause may be repeated or recent infections of the upper respiratory tract. Uncontrolled contraction can also be caused by increased physical activity or strength exercises performed without proper preparation.

Bronchospasms are favored by breathing polluted air, exposure to inhalation of substances irritating the mucous membranes of the bronchi and bronchioles (including tobacco), even pungent-smelling perfumes.

In the fall and winter, it can be dry and cold air. Therefore, people suffering from respiratory system ailments should, for example, take a moment in the vestibule before leaving the building to "harden" the airways to inhale cold air.

The underestimated cause of bronchospasm are also drugs used in the treatment of arterial hypertension, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetylsalicylic acid, andantibiotics.

Bronchospasm in exacerbation of asthma

Asthma by itself can lead to bronchospasm. Difficult breathing in people with asthma is associated with chronic inflammation in the airways.

However, when the disease gets worse, the inflammatory cells in the mucosa become active and release more substances than usual called inflammatory mediators, causing not only bronchospasm but also swelling of the mucosa in the airways. The secretion and accumulation of mucus also increases.

When an asthma exacerbation is prolonged over time, acute respiratory failure may develop, leading to unconsciousness and, in extreme cases, even death.

Patients who experience bronchospasm are given medications that cause the bronchial tubes to relax rapidly. These are mainly inhaled short-acting β2-agonists and glucocorticosteroids. Oxygen therapy is also recommended. Supportive treatments include ipratropium bromide, magnesium sulfate and theophylline.

Spastic bronchitis (or obstructive bronchitis) can lead to severe narrowing of the airways, which mainly occurs in children. Not only is the condition characterized by difficulty breathing caused by bronchospasm, but also by severe swelling of the airways and the build-up of secretions.

bronchial spasm

This is the name of the bronchospasm that occurs after exercise. Such a situation can be identified by conducting a spirometric test during physical exertion, i.e. a provocation test.

The test assesses bronchial hyperresponsiveness, which is an increased, unnatural reaction of the bronchi that leads to contraction. The test evaluates a parameter known as forced expiratory volume in one second. If it drops by at least 10%, it means that the bronchial contraction has occurred.

The bronchial spasms can appear spontaneously without any respiratory disease. Usually, however, they are observed in young people who are not used to intense exercise and in patients with asthma.

To avoid post-exercise bronchospasm attacks, patients are given short-acting inhaled β2-agonists.

The important note is that spasmodic bronchospasm can be avoided by an intense warm-up (at least 15 minutes) before starting the actual training.

bronchospasm and neurosis

A shaky psyche or very strong psychological experiences (both positive and negative) can trigger in sensitive peoplebronchospasm. It is often referred to as a psychogenic contraction.

The patient develops hyperventilation - in this case, an excessive amount of air is introduced into the lungs uncontrolled by the patient. At the same time, there is a decrease in the pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood. This results in respiratory alkalosis. In people with neurosis accompanied by anxiety and anxiety, bronchial constriction may additionally occur.

Reflex bronchospasm can occur during any mechanical irritation of the respiratory mucosa. This can happen when a foreign body gets stuck in the airways, but also when putting on a balloon that seals off the airflow through the tracheal tube.

Bronchospasm and anaphylactic reaction

This is the most difficult and life-threatening situation in which bronchospasm occurs. Until recently, it was believed that an anaphylactic reaction (anaphylaxis) could only affect people who suffered from allergic conditions.

Currently, the definition of anaphylaxis also includes non-allergic reactions, i.e. those in which IgE antibodies are not involved.

Anaphylaxis is a systemic and sudden hypersensitivity reaction. When an allergic or non-allergic factor comes into contact with a sensitive organism, many disorders may develop, and in some cases they progress very quickly.

The respiratory system reacts with bronchospasm and local swelling of the mucosa. The skin may develop hives or angioedema.

Disorders of the digestive system may be manifested by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and extensive pain in the abdominal cavity.

The cardiovascular system may react with a significant drop in blood pressure.

Anaphylactic reaction (anaphylactic shock) in 2-3% of cases ends in the death of the injured person.

Therefore, you should act very quickly. People who are diagnosed with allergies usually carry an adrenaline pre-filled syringe. Such an injection should be performed as soon as we notice the first symptoms, e.g. a progressive rash, difficulty breathing or a drop in blood pressure.

The injection is best and safest to the outside of the thigh. After administering adrenaline, the casu alty should be taken to hospital as soon as possible, so that he / she is under professional care.

In the hospital, the patient will receive steroid drugs to prevent the symptoms from returning. This is extremely important because in 10-20% of cases of anaphylactic reactions, the so-called the late reaction phase, in which symptoms return after a few hours to a maximum of three days without being exposed againPrimary trigger of the reaction.

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About the authorAnna Jarosz A journalist who has been involved in popularizing he alth education for over 40 years. Winner of many competitions for journalists dealing with medicine and he alth. She received, among others The "Golden OTIS" Trust Award in the "Media and He alth" category, St. Kamil awarded on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick, twice the "Crystal Pen" in the national competition for journalists promoting he alth, and many awards and distinctions in competitions for the "Medical Journalist of the Year" organized by the Polish Association of Journalists for He alth.

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