Reactive Airway Disease Symptoms You Should Know
The reactive airway disease symptoms are almost similar with asthma. This is probably the reason why many people and even health care professionals mistakenly classify the illness as a form of asthma. But the two are not the same. Reactive airway disease (RAD) is non-contagious in nature. It results from the inhalation of respiratory irritants which cause the airways to swell and release high amounts of mucous. Unlike regular asthma attack, the reactive airway disease symptoms can come and go. For children diagnosed with RAD, the illness develops to asthma later in life.
There are several possible causes for the appearance of the reactive airway disease symptoms. The cause may come singly or in combination. Irritating chemicals like exposure to sulfur products is the leading cause of RAD attack among adults. It may also be due to strong odors like perfume or emotional distress. For children, the reactive airway disease symptoms come from respiratory irritants such as mildew, dust, pollen, burning wood smoke and cigarette smoke. Because it is very common in cold places, it is hypothesized that changes in weather conditions might also contribute to the illness.
The reactive airway disease symptoms vary depending on the severity of the attack. But generally, the following are the most common signs observed among patients.
Coughing is one of the classic reactive airway disease symptoms. It is actually the defense mechanism of the body to get rid of irritants and the excess mucous in the respiratory tract. The dry cough may go on for several weeks to months and may worsen without medication. One notable observation during the severe cases is the presence of chest retractions. The sign is highly observable among children. Every breath causes their chest to pull in between the skin.
Difficulty of Breathing
Dyspnea, the medical term for difficulty in breathing is another end-stage reactive airway disease symptoms. Patients breathe rapidly and exceed the normal limits of 16-20 breaths per minute. This is to compensate for the reduced oxygen level in the blood. For severe attacks, the dyspnea may lead to life threatening situations and thus, the patient requires oxygen supplementation until normal breathing resumes.
The wheezing as reactive airway disease symptoms may easily be mistaken for the wheezing in asthma. Both are caused by the obstruction and narrow airway passages. The sound may be heard by listening from the back of the patient or with the use of stethoscope.
Swelling of the Respiratory Tract
During the whole duration of the illness, swelling of the respiratory passages combines with the other reactive airway disease symptoms. Again, this is the body’s response to the irritants present. The inflammation leads to a narrower airway and as a result, breathing difficulties occur. To relieve the problem, doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators. They can be taken orally or as inhalers. In more severe cases where immediate reaction is required, injection is the preferred administration.