Breathing Difficulties: Airway Narrowing Causes, Asthma And Breathing

Question: What leads to breathing difficulties? What can cause the airway to narrow? And how is the process of breathing different when an individual develops asthma?

 Answer: Narrowing of the airways is reaction to certain stimuli, usually something inhaled is one of the leading factors that cause breathing difficulty. The stimuli are commonly called triggers (substances or situations that provoke an asthma attack).

Everybody has air passages that are able to constrict in varying degrees. But the air passage of an asthma sufferer responds to irritants that do not affect other people, because they are super sensitive.

Hypo responsiveness is the medical term used while referring to the process of airway narrowing.

Breathing Difficulties Due To Airway Narrowing In Asthma

When a healthy person inhales or breathes in, air enters the nose or mouth and flows through the pharynx (the throat), through the larynx (voice box) and into the trachea (the wind-pipe). The trachea bifurcates into two tubes called bronchi (one to the right and the other to the left). The bronchi are air tubes that branch out into smaller bronchi, which in turn divide into smaller air passages called bronchioles.

There are tiny air sacs called alveoli (which play an important role in Oxygen exchange) at the tips of bronchioles which contain minute blood vessels called capillaries (smallest of the blood vessels, whose walls consists of single layer of cells). The network of bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli is known as bronchial tree.

The bronchi and bronchioles supply air to the alveoli, which removes carbon dioxide from the capillaries and replaces it with oxygen. This is commonly known as oxygen exchange and it is the basic process by which oxygen gets into the blood. The oxygen rich blood then travels to the heart and through the body.

The process of inhalation and oxygen exchange in an individual with asthma occurs similarly as it does in someone without the disease. But when an asthmatic person meets up with a trigger three abnormal reactions take place. These reactions cause asthmatic symptoms.