What is a bronchospasm of the airways?

A bronchospasm of the airways is a temporary narrowing of the bronchi, (the two tubes that carry air into the lungs from the trachea), caused by contraction and constriction of the muscles in the lining of the bronchi. A bronchospasm can cause symptoms including wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing), cough, and most significantly difficulty breathing. Causes of bronchospasms may include:
  • asthma
  • exercise
  • allergies
  • infections
  • inhaling chemical irritants (such as pollution, paint fumes, strong odors)
  • smoking
  • weather changes (especially cold air)
  • stress
If you experience bronchospasms and you notice increased difficulty breathing, chest pain or your symptoms worsen, see your doctor immediately.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.