Healthcare Tips

Types and Symptoms of Airway Obstruction

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Airway Obstruction

Airway obstruction happens anywhere on your respiratory tract. Since your airways entail a complex system of tubes passing air from your mouth and nose straight to your lungs, a blockage may partially or wholly prevent air from reaching your lungs. Barry Chase DDS asserts that airway obstructions can be life-threatening, requiring urgent medical attention. Further, kids are most likely to be victims of airway obstruction because they insert pieces of toys or other foreign bodies in their mouths and noses.

What are the causes of airway obstruction?

Choking on food is a common cause of airway obstruction. Besides choking, other reasons likely to cause air obstruction include:

·         Severe allergic reactions

·         Trauma on your airways resulting from an accident

·         Inhaling a significant amount of smoke or dust

·         Respiratory conditions that inflame your upper airways

·         Bacterial and viral infections

·         Swallowing foreign objects

·         Chronic bronchitis

·         Asthma

·         Tonsils

·         Swelling of your tongue

·         Foreign object lodging in your nose or mouth

·         Neuromuscular ailments and other conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes swallowing food challenging

Unlike adults, children are at a higher risk of airway obstructions because they have small and narrow airways and are most likely to stick parts of toys and other foreign objects in their noses and mouths. Additionally, infants are most likely to swallow their food without chewing well. You might also be at risk of having an obstruction of your airways if you have structural abnormalities, congenital or hereditary disorders likely to cause complications.

Signs that you have an airway obstruction

The symptoms of obstruction vary, depending on the exact cause and location of the obstruction. The most common signs you will experience with an obstruction include:

·         Confusion

·         Agitation

·         Choking

·         Vomiting

·         Violent coughing

·         Tightness in your chest

·         Gasping and breathlessness

·         Alterations in your breathing

·         Unconsciousness

·         Cardio-respiratory arrest

·         Panic

·         High-pitched noises that might sound like wheezing

Are allergies dangerous?

Also referred to as anaphylaxis, allergies are severe and might result in life-threatening reactions that might lead to death. Since most allergies are unexpected, they cause your airways to swell, preventing you from breathing if you hesitate to seek professional help. Anaphylaxis is likely to result from:

·         Insect bites

·         Milk

·         Peanuts

·         Seeds

·         Medicines

What are the various forms of airway obstructions you are likely to have?

Airway obstructions happen anywhere in your respiratory tract, including your mouth, nose, larynx, pharynx, bronchi, alveoli, and trachea. The defects can either be congenital or develop later in life. Lower airway obstructions (obstructive lung diseases) occur when your vocal cords narrow or close, preventing you from inhaling the right amounts of oxygen. Lower doses of oxygen also hinder your pulmonary arteries from getting sufficient air. On the other hand, upper airway obstructions result from inflammation, tumor, injury, infection, or congenital disabilities.

Obstruction of your airways will most likely occur when inhaling and exhaling become challenging, making air exchange in your lungs a daunting task. Whether you inhale large amounts of smoke or have a severe allergic reaction, an obstruction might block parts of your airways or the entire respiratory tract, resulting in life-threatening reactions. Call your trusted doctor for further inquiries. 

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