Mucus is a thick fluid secreted by mucus cells that are located in various organs. Mucus acts as a protective barrier and filter by coating the lining of organs to trap foreign substances. When foreign substances become trapped in the mucus, they cannot invade the body and cause sickness. A number of lung diseases can cause too much mucus to build up in the lungs. When mucus accumulates in the lungs, it can cause a mucus-filled cough and difficulty breathing.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Asthma is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways that move air into and out of the lungs and an increase in mucus production by the cells in the airways. When the airways are inflamed, they narrow. The excess mucus can also accumulate in the airways, which causes them to narrow further. The narrowing of the airways results in difficulty breathing. Asthma is treated with two types of medications: rapid-acting and long-acting. Rapid-acting medications relieve symptoms almost immediately and are used during asthma attacks. Long-acting medications work by increasing the diameter of the airways and are used over an extended period of time.
- Asthma is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways that move air into and out of the lungs and an increase in mucus production by the cells in the airways.
- Long-acting medications work by increasing the diameter of the airways and are used over an extended period of time.
What Are the Causes of Hyperinflated Lungs?
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic lung disease characterized by the accumulation of mucus in the lungs and digestive tract 2. The mucus produced in those with cystic fibrosis is extra thick and sticky and builds up in the airways of the lungs 2. The accumulation of mucus results in an increased chance of developing serious lung infections and digestive problems, according to Medline Plus. The disease is caused by a defective gene that is inherited from both parents. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis depend on which defective gene is present in the affected individual 2. These symptoms include:
- delayed growth
- stomach pain
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- nasal congestion
- sinus pain
Treatment for cystic fibrosis includes medications, enzyme replacement therapy and oxygen therapy 2. Lung transplantation may be an option in specific cases. Even with treatment, those with cystic fibrosis have a decreased life expectancy 2.
Bronchitis is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the airways of the lungs 3. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic 3. Acute bronchitis is often a complication of a cold or respiratory infection 3. Chronic bronchitis is a constant inflammation that is considered a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and most often a result of smoking, according to MayoClinic.com 3. Symptoms of bronchitis include:
- increased production of mucus
- shortness of breath
- chills 3
What Are the Causes of Hyperinflated Lungs?
What Are Nebulizers Used For?
Causes of a Wheezing Cough
Differences Between Asthma and Bronchitis
Bronchitis Symptoms With Allergies
Allergy Cough Symptoms
List of Acute Diseases
A Sore and Swollen Throat
Diet Foods for Respiratory Lung Problems
The Symptoms of Allergies to Cigarettes
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What is Asthma?
- MedlinePlus: Cystic Fibrosis
- Mayo Clinic: Bronchitis
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Bronchitis.
- Cleveland Clinic. Bronchitis. Updated August 12, 2019.
- American Lung Association. Acute Bronchitis Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors. Updated March 13, 2018.
- American Lung Association. Chronic Bronchitis.
- John Hopkins Medicine. Acute Bronchitis.
- John Hopkins Medicine. Bronchitis.
- Cleveland Clinic. Bronchitis: Management and Treatment. Updated August 12, 2019.
- Braz J Phys Ther. 2013 Nov-Dec;17(6):533-40. doi: 10.1590/S1413-35552012005000120. Epub 2013 Nov 1.
- Hooper LG, Young MT, Keller JP. et al. Ambient Air Pollution and Chronic Bronchitis in a Cohort of U.S. Women. Environ Health Perspect. 2018 Feb 6;126(2):027005. doi: 10.1289/EHP2199.
- Jacinto CP, Gastaldi AC, Aguiar DY, Maida KD, Souza HC. Physical therapy for airway clearance improves cardiac autonomic modulation in children with acute bronchiolitis.
Lindsay Boyers has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.