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Causes of Bronchospasm

By Lisabetta DiVita ; Updated July 18, 2017

Bronchospasm refers to a condition in which the airway muscles suddenly constrict. This can severely compromise breathing because not enough air can be inhaled. Sometimes, cold, exercise and allergens can trigger bronchospasm, but a virus can also be to blame. Fortunately, the causes of bronchospasm can be treated.


The University of Maryland Medical Center says that asthma is a chronic medical condition that results in lung inflammation. Specific symptoms of asthma include bronchospasm, wheezing, a dry cough and chest tightness. As the condition progresses, excessive sweating, severe anxiety, a fast pulse and blue discoloration of the lips or face can result.

Risk factors for developing asthma include secondhand smoke exposure, being obese, having allergies and suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Asthma treatment involves avoiding cigarettes, losing weight if obese and taking medications such as albuterol, levalbuterol, terbutaline, prednisone or hydrocortisone. Sometimes, medications such as budesonide, monteleukast, flunisolide and methylprednisolone can also be used to manage asthma.


The Mayo Clinic says that bronchiolitis refers to a viral infection that typically strikes infants between the ages of three to six months.

Symptoms of bronchiolitis include stuffy nose, runny nose and a fever. As the condition progresses, bronchospasm, rapid breathing, a fast heartbeat and wheezing can result.

The respiratory synctial virus causes bronchiolitis.

Treating bronchiolitis using a bronchodilator such as albuterol to open up the airways. Ribavirin is another medication that can be used to manage bronchiolitis. Sometimes, hospitalization may be necessary to manage bronchiolitis.


MedlinePlus says that anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include bronchospasm, confusion, fainting, trouble breathing, itchiness and wheezing. A cough, diarrhea, slurred speech, vomiting, nausea, nasal congestion and diarrhea are just some other symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis results from an allergic reaction to bee sting venom, foods or medications.

Treating anaphylaxis involves opening up the airway if it is constricted. This can be done through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), intubation (inserting a tube into the throat) or an epinephrine injection that works to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure.

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