What Does Bronchoconstriction Mean?

Definition of Bronchoconstriction

Airway Hyperresponsiveness
Airway Hyperresponsiveness. Photo courtesy of A.D.A.M.

Definition: Bronchoconstriction in COPD occurs when the airways of your lungs narrow in an exaggerated fashion after being exposed to some type of trigger.

What Are Triggers of Bronchoconstriction?

Triggers are defined as substances or events that bring on symptoms. They may include cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke, or environmental exposures to things like air pollution, harsh chemicals, and even cold air or humidity.

What Symptoms Occur Due to Bronchoconstriction?

When your airways narrow, you are likely to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • an increase in dyspnea, or shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • coughing spells
  • tightness in the chest
  • pleuritic chest pain when taking a deep breath

What Should I Do If I Feel My Airways Narrowing?

The best relief for bronchoconstriction comes when you use your rescue inhaler. It contains a bronchodilator that will help relax your constricted airways. You should also try to avoid triggers by limiting your exposure to noxious stimuli.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your health care provider if your symptoms are unrelieved by a bronchodilator or get worse and you feel like you are unable to catch your breath.

Also Known As: airway hyperresponsiveness, bronchial hyperresponsiveness

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