Breathing disorders in bronchial asthma: causes, first aid and treatment

Today bronchial asthma is far from the last place among the many diseases of the respiratory tract. A characteristic sign of the disease is an attack of suffocation, which occurs due to muscle spasm and swelling of the bronchial mucosa.

As a rule, breathing in people with bronchial asthma is hard, they are worried about unproductive cough and wheezing. If assistance is not provided on time during an attack, the risks of developing asphyxia increase.

Overview of Bronchial Asthma

BA is a chronic ailment in which the bronchial lumens narrow. In frequent cases, when exposed to irritating factors, asthma attacks occur.

Breathing in bronchial asthma is difficult. Often during an attack, a dry cough begins to disturb. It goes away after using special medications.

Although asthma is impossible to get rid of, there are therapies that can help you quickly normalize your breathing.

As an auxiliary therapy, breathing exercises are prescribed, the constant implementation of which trains the respiratory muscles.

Why is respiratory function impaired in asthma?

A feature of the course of any form of asthma is respiratory failure. This is due to spasm and narrowing of the airways. Due to this feature, the air flow is limited.

Bronchioles and bronchi take part in this pathological process, while no changes occur in the lung tissue.

Respiratory disorders are caused by a number of factors:

  1. Inflammation is the main cause of the narrowing of the bronchi. As a result of this state, the bronchial tissue thickens, which interferes with the normal passage of air. This fact explains that in case of bronchial asthma inhalation or exhalation is very difficult. Also, there is swelling of the bronchial mucosa and the release of thick sputum. The mucus blocks the respiratory passages, and this provokes an attack of bronchial asthma.
  2. Bronchospasm causes shortness of breath. It has been proven that spasm in the bronchi increases due to nervous overstrain.
  3. Hyperreactivity of the bronchi and a decrease in the lumen in asthmatics occurs due to increased sensitivity of the mucous membrane.

Due to changes in the bronchi in bronchial asthma, inhalation and exhalation is difficult, wheezing and whistling appear when breathing. Patients have to cough heavily in order for the viscous liquid to come out.

With asthma, wheezing is always heard. They arise due to the formation of membranes in the bronchi, formed from thick mucus. Noisy breathing is also noted due to a decrease in the lumen.

Wheezing during inhalation, as well as on exhalation in asthma, may be moist due to contact of mucus with air. The accumulation of phlegm in the bronchi interferes with the normal passage of air flow, so a wheezing sound may be heard when inhaling.

Shortness of breath and choking

Shortness of breath and shortness of breath are some of the signs of asthma. The main complaints of patients are lack of air and a feeling of tightness in the chest.

A healthy person hardly notes how many breaths he takes in a minute. It is important for asthmatics to know this. Against the background of asthma in people, breathing is disturbed, the frequency and intensity of breaths increase.

The appearance of shortness of breath indicates the imminent onset of an attack. In addition, with bronchial asthma, it becomes difficult to breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling are difficult.

Shortness of breath can often be accompanied by other manifestations:

  • heart rate increases;
  • fear appears;
  • irritability increases;
  • it is difficult to pronounce a whole sentence, you have to take frequent pauses during a conversation to inhale;
  • coughing with sputum becomes more frequent;
  • wheezing is heard.

If inhalation and exhalation are noticeably difficult with asthma, it is necessary to begin to take measures to stop the attack. At best, everything will cost only shortness of breath and cough. If left inactive, an asthmatic attack can cause asphyxiation.

Depending on the nature of breathing, several forms of shortness of breath are distinguished:

  1. With inspiratory dyspnea, there is difficulty breathing, noisy breathing. It occurs due to swelling, swelling of the larynx and trachea.
  2. Expiratory shortness of breath occurs against the background of narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi. Difficulty exhaling is a characteristic feature. It also occurs if the inflammatory process develops in the lungs. This shortness of breath can be chronic and obstructive.
  3. The mixed form is diagnosed if there are signs of the first two types of shortness of breath.

There are two categories of factors that trigger shortness of breath:

  • Allergic. Acute symptoms are noted with a negative effect of allergens on the patient’s body. The following can act as irritants:
  1. animal hair;
  2. pollen of plants;
  3. household chemicals;
  4. harsh aromas;
  5. Food.
  • Non-allergic. Other irritants can cause bronchoconstriction, including:
  1. tobacco smoke;
  2. ARVI;
  3. stress;
  4. change of weather conditions;
  5. physical activity;
  6. cold or dry air;
  7. hormonal disruptions.

The main mistakes of an asthmatic when breathing

During the progression of asthma, a person learns to improper breathing. It is worth paying attention to the most common mistakes:

  • when the chest is activated during inhalation, oxygen penetrates more into the upper and also into the middle part of the lungs than into the lower. Due to the raising of the ribs, the diaphragm and abdominal muscles are compressed. This prevents full breathing;
  • if the air is not fully exhaled, its remainder in the lungs will interfere with filling the required volume during inhalation. This becomes the cause of oxygen deficiency. Inhales of a patient with asthma become more frequent, they become superficial and ineffective;
  • inspiratory delays and abrupt expiration put additional stress on the lungs and the blood supply system. These actions are contraindicated for asthmatics;
  • breaths through the mouth do not provide moisture, warming and purification of the air from unnecessary impurities. With this breathing, a person makes less effort, so he takes frequent breaths. It also leads to dryness of the mouth and larynx and irritation of the respiratory tract. This can cause an asthmatic attack;
  • rapid breathing is also a common mistake. If a person inhales a lot of oxygen, then, accordingly, he exhales more carbon dioxide. Because of this, the composition of the blood changes and a full supply of oxygen to all cells is not ensured.

You can learn to breathe properly with the help of special exercises. Despite their health benefits, they are not a substitute for mainstream treatments.

Before starting classes, you should consult with your doctor. For patients with certain complications, these activities may not be appropriate.

Consequences of breathing disorders

Frequent suffocation with bronchial asthma entails the development of various consequences, such as:

  • respiratory failure;
  • hypertension;
  • pathological proliferation of connective tissue in the lungs;
  • heart failure;
  • arrhythmia;
  • diseases of the vascular system.

In asthma, shortness of breath is a serious respiratory problem. With the wrong treatment, it can worsen significantly, and also cause the development of an attack of suffocation.

Emergency care for an attack

If the patient has signs of an incipient attack, then do not panic right away. The first thing to do is call an ambulance. Before the arrival of the doctor, it is necessary to help the asthma patient on their own.

In order for the patient to stop suffocating during an asthma attack, you need to help him take the correct posture. He should sit on a sofa or chair and rub his hands on a hard surface. This position promotes the activation of the secondary muscles that are involved in breathing.

For a better air flow, you need to free the patient from embarrassing clothing and open the window. It is also important to track the number of breaths per minute before the ambulance arrives.

You can normalize the condition with a mild asthma attack by using:

  • bronchodilators in inhalers;
  • inhalations using a nebulizer: saline (3 ml) and a drug based on ipratropium bromide and fenoterol hydrobromide are poured into the apparatus;
  • oxygen therapy. Humidified oxygen helps to normalize breathing.

The following methods will help to alleviate the patient’s condition with a moderate attack:

  • oxygen therapy;
  • using an inhaler;
  • intravenous injection of a drug that expands the lumen of the bronchi.

In case of a severe attack, the following will help:

  • inhalation with a nebulizer;
  • preparations containing terbutaline, salbutamol;
  • intravenous injection of prednisolone.

After carrying out first aid measures, the patient is recommended to be admitted to a hospital.

Methods for normalizing breathing


Patients with bronchial asthma should understand that only a doctor can prescribe the correct treatment to help normalize breathing.

The choice of a particular technique or combination treatment depends on the course of the disease, the patient’s age and the presence of concomitant diseases.

Drug therapy

If, after the first attack, diagnostics and tests, a diagnosis of bronchial asthma was made, one cannot do without the use of supportive therapy. It is necessary to reduce the risk of recurrent seizures, prevent bronchial muscle spasms and neutralize symptoms.

All drugs used to treat this disease are divided into types:

  • inhaled corticosteroids – basically, patients take such drugs every day. With their help, it is possible to control the course of asthma;
  • Long-term beta-agonists should be used as an adjunct to early medications. After taking such drugs, the bronchi expand;
  • combined means – one inhaler contains beta-agonists and ICS. When using a combination inhaler, the number of attacks is reduced.

To relieve the symptoms of bronchial asthma, it is necessary to use fast acting bronchodilators. Despite the fact that the effect of these medications is short-lived, they are able to quickly stop an attack, since they contribute to the expansion of the bronchial lumens. Asthma inhalation performed with a nebulizer is also considered effective .

As a rule, most anti-asthma drugs are sold strictly by prescription, so you should always carry them with you, especially if you are planning a vacation.

Breathing exercises

Experts advise doing such gymnastics for bronchial asthma regularly. Subject to the rules for its implementation, the following changes are noted:

  • blood vessels become more elastic, and this minimizes the risk of stroke;
  • atherosclerotic plaques do not form on the vascular walls;
  • metabolic processes are improved;
  • immunity is strengthened.

If a person is diagnosed with asthma, then breathing exercises should be performed in compliance with a number of simple rules:

  • inhale and exhale through the mouth;
  • in order not to cause a cough, during exercise you need to pause between inhalation and exhalation;
  • breaths should be shallow;
  • you should learn to calm down on your own;
  • the recommended gymnastics must be performed several times a day.

To learn how to breathe with asthma, it is enough to perform 2 types of exercises:

  1. “Awakening” – gymnastics is performed without getting out of bed, but immediately after sleep or rest. To do this, the legs are bent, and the knees are pulled as close to the chest as possible. Lingering in this position, you need to make a slow exhalation;
  2. “Bloating” – exercises are performed while standing, you need to breathe through your nose. When breathing in, the stomach is inflated as much as possible, and with a sharp exhalation, it is pulled in.


In order to improve the effectiveness of BA treatment, the patient is often prescribed massage. It is carried out in the interictal period to restore breathing, strengthen immunity and prevent the development of emphysematous changes.

The choice of the type of massage depends on the severity of the disease, its form and the presence of other pathologies.

The effectiveness of massage often depends on what factors provoked the development of the disease. This therapeutic procedure is performed to control seizures, reduce their severity and frequency. After the completed course of treatment in asthmatics, breathing is improved and the functioning of the diaphragm is activated.

It is advisable that the massage is carried out by an experienced specialist who follows all the rules and recommendations.

  1. The patient needs to sit down and relax.
  2. The masseur stands or sits behind the patient’s back.
  3. For three minutes he lightly strokes, rubs the patient’s back, neck and chest.
  4. After that, within ten minutes, there is a moderate effect on the muscles of the back, neck, shoulder blades and intercostal space.

The massage therapist’s movements should not be overly sharp and painful. If you feel discomfort and there are no positive changes, then you need to consult with a specialist about changing the tactics of the procedure.


Patients with bronchial asthma should be aware that there are no methods and medicines that can completely cure the disease. All experts say that the disease must be treated through complex therapy.

Fast and long-lasting medications can relieve asthma symptoms and stop an asthma attack. Breathing exercises can help relieve symptoms and normalize breathing.


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