The relationship between bronchial asthma and shortness of breath, mechanism of impairment, treatment methods

Bronchial asthma is a common chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tissue.

In this case, respiratory function disorders appear due to narrowing and blockage of the lung lumen. A build-up of mucus or muscle spasm interferes with normal air circulation. It becomes difficult for a patient with asthma to breathe: both inhalation and exhalation are difficult.

Bronchial asthma is manifested by a number of symptoms, among which the state of suffocation and shortness of breath are the main ones. 

Shortness of breath as a symptom of asthma

Normally, a person does not think about his breathing, he simply does not notice it. Shortness of breath also occurs in a healthy person, for example, after intense physical activity. However, after some time, his breathing returns to normal. A completely different picture is observed in asthma.

Shortness of breath in bronchial asthma occurs suddenly, and it does not matter what the severity of the disease is. It can bother a sick person even in remission.

With bronchial asthma, doctors distinguish a certain type of shortness of breath that is characteristic of this particular disease , which makes it possible to make a diagnosis. Difficulty breathing occurs in both children and adults. 

Shortness of breath classification

There are many factors that trigger bronchial asthma. It can be the ingestion of an allergen into the human body, and too intense physical activity, and severe stress.

Very often an asthma attack is accompanied by shortness of breath. However, it can also manifest itself in a state of remission, when other manifestations of the disease are absent. In this case, the patient is prescribed a special treatment, the nature of which is determined based on the type of violation.

The following forms of shortness of breath are distinguished:

  • Inspiratory dyspnea. In this case, bronchial asthma is not always diagnosed. Such shortness of breath can occur with edema or swelling of the larynx and trachea, as well as when a foreign object enters the respiratory tract. In this case, the patient has difficulty breathing, which is not typical for asthma. However, only a specialist can make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Expiratory dyspnea. It is with this type of shortness of breath that the doctor pre-diagnoses bronchial asthma. It occurs with a significant narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi, which is characteristic of this pathology. Depending on the duration of shortness of breath, there are several of its subspecies:
  1. temporary. Most often occurs in a patient diagnosed with acute lobar pneumonia. It is typical for cases when the inflammatory process affects a large area of ​​the lung. In this case, the affected area does not participate in breathing, which is dangerous for the patient’s life;
  2. constant. It is observed in chronic lung diseases, for example, emphysema;
  3. obstructive. This violation is associated with problems that arise when air enters the lungs. This type of dyspnea can disturb the patient even at rest. In this case, exhalation is difficult, which corresponds to the symptoms of bronchial asthma.
  • Mixed. With this type of breathing disorder, it is difficult for the patient to breathe in and out.

It is important to remember that, in addition to bronchial asthma, shortness of breath can occur in other pathologies, for example, in heart disease. You cannot diagnose yourself and prescribe treatment yourself . This can only be done by a doctor.

Causes and mechanism of development of shortness of breath

The type and accompanying symptoms of shortness of breath depend on the mechanism of its occurrence. With heart disease, the pulmonary artery is disrupted, which, in turn, affects respiratory function.

Inspiratory dyspnea appears. Shortness of breath arising from bronchial asthma is of a different nature. Obstruction in the airways occurs due to narrowing of the bronchi.

The edema is accompanied by additional secretion with increased viscosity. Sputum is poorly excreted and blocks the already narrow lumen, as a result of which it becomes difficult to remove air from the lungs.

This type of breathing that occurs in bronchial asthma is called expiratory dyspnea. In this case, the inhalation is short and light, but the exhalation is difficult. With bronchial asthma, it is difficult for the patient to exhale the air.

After taking medication, the lumen of the bronchi expands, and breathing is normalized.

To prevent the development of pathology, it is important to know the factors that provoke these breathing disorders.

There are two main groups of causes that cause the development of shortness of breath:

  1. Exogenous causes. In this case, respiratory failure occurs upon contact with external environmental factors. Climate change, poor environment, household chemicals and a variety of allergens can all cause shortness of breath.
  2. Endogenous causes. In this case, shortness of breath can occur due to a variety of respiratory diseases, due to malfunctions of the endocrine or immune system.

Shortness of breath at different stages of the disease

Regardless of the stage of the disease, patients are diagnosed with an expiratory type of shortness of breath, which occurs precisely in bronchial asthma. In this case, there is a significant narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi, which prevents normal exhalation. 

If a person is diagnosed with moderate or severe bronchial asthma, then shortness of breath occurs during an attack that occurs after intense physical activity. This type of shortness of breath can also signal the onset of an attack.

Very often, respiratory failure signals the end of the remission period and the beginning of an exacerbation of the disease. It is with shortness of breath that an attack of suffocation begins in bronchial asthma.

The nature of shortness of breath in bronchial asthma can change when exposed to certain factors. Many patients noted that when they were in dusty rooms, near flowering plants, or after contact with other allergens, their shortness of breath increased dramatically. 

Tobacco smoke, a pungent odor – all this can provoke an increase in the inflammatory process in the bronchi, and cause respiratory disorders even during remission.

Associated symptoms

A patient diagnosed with bronchial asthma always faces shortness of breath. This is the body’s response to a decrease in oxygen supply, aimed at compensating for respiratory failure.

At the first stage, breathing disorder is almost imperceptible. But later, with the development of a state of suffocation, characteristic of asthma, the symptoms begin to manifest themselves more strongly. The patient pays attention to the accompanying manifestations of the disease:

  1. Heart problems. If, in addition to asthma, the patient has disturbances in the work of the cardiovascular system, then an increase in heart rate is possible. An increase in heart rate can be observed for 1-15 minutes. If this pathology has arisen, the patient needs to immediately consult a cardiologist to adjust the treatment.
  2. Headache. It can be so severe that it can lead to clouding and confusion. This is due to the fact that there is not enough oxygen for the brain to function. This is a natural reaction to this problem.
  3. The patient experiences severe nausea. However, vomiting usually does not occur.
  4. The patient’s eyes darken, visual perception worsens.

In the early stages of the disease, all these manifestations are absent. If the above characteristic symptoms appear, the patient needs to urgently consult a pulmonologist, who, after examination and examination, will amend the prescriptions.

With proper treatment, shortness of breath usually rarely bothers the patient. Exceptions are intense sports. Correct therapy can improve the patient’s quality of life by minimizing breathing disturbances.

How to deal with shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms of bronchial asthma. Treatment of this pathology continues throughout the patient’s life.

The main methods of therapy include the use of drugs for shortness of breath, including in inhalers, which are especially effective in bronchial asthma. Thanks to the inhaler, the active substance is delivered directly to the site of the lesion. 

This is the most effective first aid method for an asthma attack. Inhalers are compact in size, which allows you not to part with the balloon in any life situations.

In case of an attack, the inhaler must be used no more than two times in a row. If after a certain time the nature of the shortness of breath has not changed, and the patient does not feel better, one should be wary of the development of a severe attack.

An urgent need to call an ambulance, without waiting for the deterioration of the condition.

Before the arrival of doctors, it is necessary to try to alleviate the patient’s condition on their own. He needs to sit on a chair and provide fresh air.

This will reduce oxygen deprivation. If possible, contact with the allergen that triggered the attack should be excluded.

It is important to be careful not to exceed the permitted daily dose of the medication. In case of violation of this rule, it is possible to develop status asthmaticus, which is difficult to treat.

In the complex treatment of the disease, bronchodilators and expectorants are used.

It is important to remember that even if the prescribed medication does not give a positive effect, you cannot independently change the dosage regimen and dosage prescribed by your doctor. This can make the disease worse.

The right medication can relieve shortness of breath and other symptoms of asthma. However, preventive measures are no less important than taking medications. 

Prevention of shortness of breath

In order to reduce the incidence of shortness of breath, the patient needs to make lifestyle changes. A number of preventive measures can improve the patient’s condition. Doctors recommend:

  1. Constantly record and analyze the circumstances of the onset of shortness of breath and avoid exposure to provoking factors.
  2. Asthmatics should be able to use a peak flow meter. It allows you to clearly identify difficult exhalation in asthma.
  3. Eliminate contact with allergens.
  4. Avoid exposure to strong odors and tobacco smoke.
  5. Take medications strictly as directed by your doctor.
  6. Undergo regular preventive examinations to assess the state of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
  7. Follow a diet.
  8. Get treated in sanatoriums and dispensaries.

Compliance with these rules allows you to minimize the manifestations of shortness of breath and give the patient a chance for a normal life.

event_note August 22, 2020

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