Is Bronchospasm Life Threatening?

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Life Threatening

Bronchospasm in medical terms refers to the occurrence of spasms in the bronchial muscles where in the individual experiences difficulty in breathing due to narrowing of the windpipe. This happens as a reaction to a stimulus which over activates the bronchioles which further leads to inflammation and increased production of mucus and thus constricting the airways.

What Fuels The Fire of Bronchospasm?

Bronchospasm has a lot of causes but the basic occurrence is due to 3 causes

  1. Illnesses; such as Pneumonia, Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Emphysema.
  2. Allergies; It can also be caused if there is a Family or personal history of asthma or allergies to things such as pollen, dust, animal dander, latex, or food additives. Exposure to air irritants such as smoke, air pollution, strong odors, cold or dry air, or too much air from a ventilator can also lead to spasms.
  3. Drug influenced; these causes are side effects of topical decongestants such as Oxymetazoline, Phenylephrine, and medicines such as antibiotics, blood pressure medicines, aspirin, or NSAIDs.

Asthma as a Cause of Bronchospasm:

The most common cause is asthma which is an irreversible condition in which the airways of the respiratory system might suddenly narrow as a response to an allergen. The severity of the disease might vary from patient to patient.

Symptoms of asthma are similar to bronchospasm such as disturbed sleep due to problems breathing or an exhaustive cough or wheezing.

If you are feeling short of breath or experiencing whistling sounds while exhaling there are high chances that you have asthma. Asthma could be triggered due to either exercising which worsens if the air is cold and dry or could be due to chemicals or gases in the workplace or due to air carried particles like pollen, animal dander (dried up saliva), cockroach waste, mold spores and etc.

There are no specific causes of asthma it is purely a mix of the genetic structure of the individual and triggering agents present in the environment. Certain medications can also lead to asthma such as the beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve). Overwhelming emotions and stress could also cause asthma. Certain preservatives used in food products can also make you end up with asthma. So if you have a family or personal history of bronchospasm or asthma be careful eating processed potatoes, shrimps and please do pay attention to your intake of wine and beer.

Asthma is a very fluctuating disease so it is necessary that you sit down with your doctor and try charting out your treatment process and also regular consultation might be helpful. It is not a curable disease but a treatable one, so a treatment is basically helping you adapt to your lifestyle as a normal person to the extent possible. It’s necessary that you be psychologically ready for this because you are not alone 300 million of the world’s population suffers from the same condition.

Diagnosis of asthma is done through lung test functions, chest X-rays, evaluation of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), allergy tests and evaluation of sinuses.

Warning Signs:

If you have any of the following symptoms it would be advisable to consult a pulmonologist right away as these are indications of bronchospasm:-

  • Trouble breathing, often at night, in the morning, or after exercise.
  • Persistent cough
  • Feeling short of breath.
  • A sense of pressure on your chest.
  • Traces of blood in your spit or cough.
  • chest ache.
  • You have a fast or uneven heartbeat.

How The Learned Confirm your Symptoms of Bronchospasm:

Usually the physician will examine your history of illnesses and try to see if your breathing seems laborious. He/she might ask for an X-ray report which helps diagnose any infections. They might even ask you to get a pulmonary functioning test done as this provides an insight into how effectively your lungs are functioning. A CT scan or a CAT scan checks for any blood clots. This way the reason behind your spasms can be found out and can be treated easily.

How it is Dealt With:

This area is still being explored with current researches focusing on the effectiveness of antagonists of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors which tend to decrease sympathetic reaction system of the body. So, maybe a controlled dosage of this could help. Old school medicines include bronchodilators and anticholinergics. The most prescribed is the bronchodilator which contains the drug albuterol. This drug is also available in the form of a tablet.

Albuterol As The Frequently Prescribed Medication:

Though albuterol is frequently prescribed, one has to make sure of the drug’s proper usage which otherwise could lead to more complications. There are high chances that albuterol could cause allergic reactions and in some cases even hypokalemia. The side effects of the drug include trembling legs, arms, hands, or feet and irregular heartbeats or pulse.

Some rare effects are large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs and  trouble with holding or releasing urine, trouble sleeping, anxiety or agitation, convulsions, nausea, skin problems and change in taste. Some users have also experienced discomfort in breathing as it gets either noisy or slow and irregular.

Albuterol has a tendency to react to in taking of other drugs there by increasing the range of side effects, therefore it is necessary to be cautious of any irregularities or discomfort or pain experienced while under dosage and immediate consultation in advisable. Some side effects, however, are temporary as it exists only until your body is adapting to the drug.

The Dosage of Albuterol for the Treatment of Bronchospasm:

Administration of the drug differs from patient to patient based on the severity of the disease and the strength of the medicine. These are only averages of the dosage. Your dosage can be better described by your physician, so do not be worried if your dosages differ from what is mentioned here.

Oral dosage that is in the form of syrup or tablets: (for adults)

  • Adults have prescribed a dose of 2 or 4 milligrams (mg) 3 or 4 times a day. Your doctor may increase your dosage as needed up to a maximum of 32 mg per day depending on the degree disease.

Oral dosage that is in the form of syrup or tablets: (for children)

  • Children above 12 years of age are prescribed to 2 or 4 milligrams (mg) taken 3 or 4 times a day. Your doctor may increase your dosage up to a maximum of 32 mg per day depending on the degree disease.
  • Children of the age of 6 to 12 years are prescribed 2 mg taken 3 or 4 times per day. It could be increased up to a maximum dose of 24 mg per day, divided and given 4 times per day.
  • Children of 2 to 6 years of age are given a Dose based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 0.1 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per dose, given 3 times per day, and each dose will not be more than 2 mg. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed up to a maximum dose of 12 mg per day, divided and given 3 times a day.
  • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your child’s doctor.

The dosage for oral intake in the form of extended tablets: (for adults)

  • Adults are asked to take a dose of 8 milligrams (mg) every 12 hours. It could be increased up to a maximum of 32 mg per day, divided and given every 12 hours.

The dosage for oral intake in the form of extended tablets: (for children)

  • Children older than 12 years of age are asked to take a dose of 8 milligrams (mg) every 12 hours. It could be increased up to a maximum of 32 mg per day, divided and given every 12 hours.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age—4 mg every 12 hours. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed up to a maximum dose of 24 mg per day, divided and given every 12 hours.
  • Children younger than 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your child’s doctor.

NOTE:

If you missed a dosage just continue regularly do not take extra dosages because it could lead to an overdose.