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  • Foundation for Airway Health

Signs Your Airway Health Might Be at Risk

Updated: Jan 26




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:

● Asthma

● 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

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:

● Pneumonia

● Pulmonary edema

● Anemia

● 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

● Pneumonia

● 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.


Help Us Promote the Benefits of Airway Health

Join the Foundation for Airway Health’s mission to ensure everyone understands how

breathing impacts health and development. Your donation allows us to spread the word

about the importance of breathing for overall health, conduct valuable research, and

ensure access to care.

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