A number of medical conditions can affect the bronchus. A bronchospasm for example occurs when the airways constrict, or narrow, causing wheezing and difficulty in breathing. It can be a symptom of many conditions that affect the airways, including asthma, seasonal allergies, and COPD.
The following are some of the medical conditions involving the bronchus:
Asthma has a lot of triggers from smoke, dust, pet fur and other allergies and irritants, to intense emotions resulting in hyperventilation.
During an asthma attack, a bronchospasm occurs, the bronchi or airways constrict or narrows itself and it becomes extremely difficult to breath.
When a viral infection that started in the nose or throat starts to affect the cells of the bronchi, it becomes swollen and causes a cough that sometimes coughs up phlegm, and it causes wheezing. This is called acute bronchitis.
Usually it is caused by the same virus that causes colds and the flu. You can also get acute bronchitis from bacteria in rare cases and from inhaling certain substances, such as smoke, dust, or other irritants.
As for chronic bronchitis, smoking is the number one culprit because cigarette smoke irritates the airways and causes mucus. This causes inflammation in the bronchioles, causing a heavy buildup of mucus in the lungs and unlike acute bronchitis which goes away easily on its own, this one will not stop. It will give a chronic cough and the sick person will be more susceptible to bacterial infections. Breathing becomes extremely difficult.
Apart from smoking and being exposed to irritants such as dust or chemical fumes, over a long period of time, having COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the same condition some people with emphysema also have, increases the probability that more likely, they have chronic bronchitis too.
People who have COPD usually also have asthma or emphysema accompanied by chronic bronchitis. If left untreated, this can lead to lung cancer.
Bronchiectasis which is also associated with other illnesses, such as COPD, cystic fibrosis, and recurrent cases of pneumonia, happens when the walls of the bronchi become irreversibly scarred.
They become thick and this causes mucus to build up and become a breeding ground for bacteria. The lung will not be able to function well when this condition is prolonged.
Patients are instructed to fast prior to surgery because there is a risk they could vomit and aspirate some of the food or drink while they are unconscious under general anesthesia.
When these foreign objects are accidentally or involuntarily inhaled, they often become lodged in one of the bronchi.
These Inhaled substances can then attract bacteria, leading to aspiration and pneumonia.
These can also happen to people who have trouble chewing and swallowing. Patients are also prone to aspiration after a stroke
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