There are many conditions that cause lung hyperinflation and asthma is one of the known causes of hyperinflated lungs. Knowing the cause behind lung hyperinflation will help to determine treatment.
In some cases, hyperinflation is a normal result such as for people holding their breaths or older people. When lung hyperinflation is a result of a serious medical condition, medical consult should be sought immediately.
What Is Hyperinflated Lungs Asthma?
- Hyperinflated lungs simply mean an excessive, heightened or large increase in lung tissue.
- The accessory muscles of respiration are also often used to maintain lung hyperinflation in patients experiencing the condition.
- The severity as well as the symptoms of lung hyperinflation is often determined by the age of the patient, the cause of the hyperinflation, and underlying factors or diseases that accompany the hyperinflation.
- Hyperinflation of the lungs is a term that can often be seen in x-ray or radiologic reports. This is because in order to determine the presence of lung hyperinflation, a definitive chest x-ray must be done.
- Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways within the lungs.
- An asthmatic patient will experience tightening of the airways and muscles known as bronchospasm.
- The patient will also experience swelling and inflammation of the airways producing excessive mucus.
- Patients undergoing an asthma attack will experience hyperinflation of the lungs causing them to experience shortness of breath.
Symptoms Of Hyperinflation Of The Lungs
Hyperinflation of the lungs as a result of an asthma attack can produce different signs and symptoms. These include:
- Pain or chest tightening
- Shortness of breath
- Flaring of the nostrils
- Interrupted talking
- Hyperinflation as evidenced by hunching of the shoulders, hunching forward, not wanting to lie down)
- Easily fatigued
Lung function tests will reveal:
- Decrease in the maximal expiratory airflow rate due to an increased resistance.
- Reduction in forced vital capacity.
- Breathing at higher volumes
- Exerting effort to create an extremely negative pleural pressure
- Reduction of the natural curvature of the diaphragm
Treatment For Hyperinflated Lungs
There is no curative treatment for hyperinflated lungs in asthmatic patients. The best that a physician can do is to manage the condition.
- Environmental control – avoid or clean the house of any stimuli or pathogen that can cause an asthmatic attack.
- Monitoring of lung function – this can be done through the use of a peak flow meter. Before an asthma attack, lung function decreases.
- Medications – this includes the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids and the use of bronchodilators.