Airway Inflammation and Airway Obstruction: Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

Airway inflammation can be defined as the swelling of the airways. Airway inflammation can be caused due to a number of conditions such as COPD, asthma, and bronchitis, among others. It causes air passages to become narrower than normal, which makes it difficult for air to pass through and breathing becomes arduous.

Airway obstruction, on the other hand, can be defined as a blockage in the airway. The human respiratory system is complex and comprises tubes that deliver inhaled air from the mouth and nose into the lungs and vice versa. An airway obstruction can either partially or totally block the passage of air into the lungs. Airway obstruction has several types, which include respiratory conditions as well as foreign objects getting lodged in the respiratory tract.

Airway Inflammation and Obstruction Causes

The first thing that pops into someone's head when they read airway obstruction is someone choking on food. However, that is just one of the many reasons for airway inflammation or obstruction. Mentioned below is a list of reasons why people suffer from airway inflammation or obstruction.

  • Asthma
  • Swallowing or inhaling foreign objects
  • Certain conditions of the vocal cords
  • Allergic reactions
  • Emphysema
  • Bacterial infections
  • Swelling of epiglottis
  • Spelling of tongue
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Breathing in large amounts of smoke
  • Trauma to the airway
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Viral infections
  • Throat abscess
  • Tonsillitis
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Collapse of tracheal wall (i.e., tracheomalacia)

Respiratory illnesses causing upper airway inflammation

Types of Airway Obstruction

Airway obstruction can be classified according to the location of the obstruction. The types of airway obstruction are mentioned below.

Partial Airway Obstruction

Although with difficulty, this condition allows the passage of some air.

Complete Airway Obstruction

In this condition, the person cannot breathe as the air is completely obstructed.

Chronic Airway Obstruction

Chronic airway obstruction is further classified into two types according to you the type of block. The first type is blockages that develop over a long period of time. The second type is long-lasting blockages.

Acute Airway Obstruction

This instruction a blockage that occurs quickly. It includes the likes of choking on a foreign object.

Lower Airway Obstruction

These obstructions are found from the narrow passageways of the lungs up to the larynx.

Upper Airway Obstruction

These obstructions are found from the larynx up to the areas of the nose.

Symptoms of Airway Inflammation and Obstruction

While the symptoms of airway inflammation and obstruction generally depend on the cause, the location of the obstruction also adds to the symptoms. Symptoms people experience during airway inflammation or obstruction are as mentioned below.

  • Gasping for air
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cyanosis (blue coloration of skin)
  • High pitched breathing sounds (i.e., sounds such as wheezing)

Treatment of Airway Inflammation and Airway Obstruction

The treatment of airway inflammation differs from the treatment of airway obstruction. In the case of airway inflammation, the causes are generally found out to be conditions that lead to the narrowing of air passages. Whereas, in the case of airway obstruction, the causes are more linked to The lodging of foreign objects in the respiratory tract.

Airway inflammation is generally caused by conditions such as asthma, which can construct the lining of the airway. These conditions can be triggered by the following.

  • Pollen
  • Pet hair
  • Stress
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Changes in weather
  • Respiratory infections
  • Dust mites
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Excessive physical activity or exercise
  • Allergic reactions to specific foods
  • Fragrances and chemicals
  • Poor air quality

Airway obstruction is considered an emergency situation and people are advised to alert the nearest hospital authorities. However, paramedics take time to arrive and there are certain things that one can do while waiting for emergency services. These are mentioned below.

Heimlich Maneuver

The Heimlich maneuver is an emergency technique that can be used to relieve a person choking on a foreign object. It is aimed at forcing the foreign object out of the person's respiratory tract. This can be done by the following steps.

  • Stand behind the person who is choking and place the arms around the waist of the person who is choking.
  • Make a fist with one hand and place it slightly above the choking person's belly button.
  • Grab the first with the free hand and push into the choking person's abdomen. These pushes are in a sequence of 5 quick abdominal thrusts.
  • Repeat the 5 abdominal thrusts and emergency services arrive for the object is dislodged.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

This is another emergency technique that is used on an unconscious patient who isn't breathing. This technique helps maintain a continuous supply of oxygenated blood to the brain until emergency services arrive. It is performed by the following steps.

  • Get the unconscious patient flat on their back.
  • Place the heel of the hand on the center of the person's chest.
  • Please the other hand on top and push straight down with your upper body weight.
  • Provide 30 compressions and then pause to supply two breaths to the patient.
  • Do this until the ambulance or emergency services arrive.


In terms of medication, using supplements, such as Abronym and Absogen, to fight the process of inflammation and fibrosis, have been found to be extremely effective.

  • Abronym

Grocare’s Abronym is classified as a daily fibrotic supplement that is specifically designed to fight fibrosis to induce relief in conditions related to fibrosis. Abronym is effective against respiratory disorders. It is an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-asthmatic supplement that treats the common cold or flu. It makes it easy for breathing and does away with the mucus.

  • Absogen

Gorcare’s Absogen is another supplement that helps in treating inflammation as it supports the body’s homeostasis by reducing inflammation and solving complications that are associated with it. Absogen is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement that supports the systems and proper functioning of the body and can be consumed as a preventive against diseases, thereby inhibiting any pathological symptoms.