Signs Your Airway Health Might Be at Risk
Your airways are the pathways that allow air to move in and out of your lungs. Airway health is crucial for breathing correctly and getting adequate oxygen. Unfortunately, many people ignore the warning signs that their airway health is declining. Being aware of these signs can help you identify issues early and take steps to improve your respiratory health.
● Chronic Cough
A persistent cough that lasts for weeks or months could indicate an underlying airway problem. Coughing helps clear irritants or secretions from your airways. But prolonged coughing can strain and inflame the airways. Common causes of chronic cough include:
● Chronic bronchitis
● Postnasal drip
● Acid reflux
See your doctor if a cough persists for more than a few weeks to determine the underlying cause. Proper treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent further irritation.
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound caused by narrowed or inflamed airways restricting airflow. Wheezing can be associated with:
● Asthma attacks
● Respiratory infections
● Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
● Lung cancer
Take note of any wheezing episodes. Discuss the frequency and triggers with your doctor to determine if any treatment is needed. Getting asthma or COPD under control can minimize wheezing flare-ups.
● Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, is uncomfortable or difficult breathing. It might feel like you can't get enough air. Some causes include:
● Pulmonary edema
● Lung disease
● Heart failure
Sudden or unexplained shortness of breath warrants prompt medical care to determine the cause. Getting proper treatment helps prevent complications.
● Excess Mucus Production
Excess mucus in the airways can indicate irritation or infection. It may appear as
phlegm or sputum when coughing. Potential causes include:
● Chronic bronchitis
● Cystic fibrosis
● Sinus infection
See your doctor if you have thick, discolored, blood-tinged, foul-smelling, or copious mucus. Treatment depends on the cause but may include antibiotics, inhaled medications, and chest physiotherapy.
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