Bronchospasm is the condition in which smooth muscles of the bronchi are constricted causing narrowing of airway. In short it is caused due to construction of bronchioles and bronchi. It happens when there is any inflammation on the path of respiratory system and this condition occurs when there is excess secretion of mucus inside the bronchioles. Bronchospasm is characterized by the chronic cough and asthmatic condition.
It is the autonomic nervous system which controls the relaxation and contraction of bronchioles. When the bronchial muscles contract, obviously it constricts the pathway of respiratory system and reduces the amount of air entering the bronchioles. This condition results due to allergic cough, asthma or chronic mucus formation. The bronchial muscles need to make extra effort for restoring normal breathing since it has to pump air in and out of the narrowed path. In addition, the excess of mucus are caught in the path making it difficult for the person to breathe normally.
Number of factors triggers bronchial irritability. Some of them are discussed below :-
• Allergic Reaction
This happens when microorganisms like bacteria and virus invade the body causing infection. This will trigger allergy and often the body’s defense mechanism produce antibodies to control and destroy these particles. But for some cases, the immune system begins to destroy healthy antibodies thus making more damage to the body than good. The main cause of allergic reaction are dust, smoke, molds, foods and pollen and any other kind of allergen.
• Heightened Emotion
Stress will trigger allergic reaction and asthma in adults causing more mucus content in the path thus blocking the airway causing bronchospasm.
• Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
Asthma is triggered due to virus and bacterial infection causing RTI on the person. The organisms damage the epithelial cells which eventually produces particular immunoglobulin (IgE) which will fight the foreign substances. Common cold and chronic cough are some examples of upper RTI causing bronchospasm.
• Vigorous exercise can also trigger asthma in children and adults causing wheezing and coughing.
• Cigarette smoke (both passive and active) can certainly damage the soft tissues of the bronchioles causing intense cough and wheezing.
Irritant cough, repeated cough and chronic mucus formation are some of the symptoms of bronchospasm and bronchiole infection. In some people there may be wheezing, tightness in chest and shortness of breath.
Your doctor will look for the above symptoms like chronic cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. If needed, he would ask you for chest X-ray for detecting the intensity of infection.
Doctors may prescribe Beta 2 agonists for clearing the airway and reducing the irritation of the muscles. It would also facilitate mediator release to breathe out normally. Bronchodilators are prescribed for patients suffering from bronchospasm to control the symptoms of vigorous cough and wheezing. It is beneficial to relax the muscles surrounding the bronchial walls.
Some of the common medicines given are albuterol (ventolin), bitolterol (tornalate), bronckometer, alupent, maxair and brethaire. All these are prescription medicines used to reduce the symptoms associated with bronchospasm.
Some doctors also give anti-inflammatory medicines like corticosteroids for treating the inflammation of the bronchial walls which causes constriction of passage of airway.