Bronchospasm or a bronchial spasm is a sudden constriction of the muscles in the walls of the bronchiole
The bronchioles or bronchioli are the first airway branches that no longer contain cartilage or glands in their submucosa. They are branches of the bronchi.The bronchioles terminate by entering the circular sacs called alveoli.- Structure :...

s. It is caused by the release (degranulation
Degranulation is a cellular process that releases antimicrobial cytotoxic molecules from secretory vesicles called granules found inside some cells...

) of substances from mast cells or basophils under the influence of anaphylatoxin
Anaphylatoxins, or anaphylotoxins, are fragments that are produced as part of the activation of the complement system.. Complement components C3, C4 and C5 are large glycoproteins that have important functions in the immune response and host defense...

s. It causes difficulty in breathing which can be very mild to severe.
Bronchospasms appear as the feature of asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

, chronic bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi in the lungs that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks. Characteristic symptoms include cough, sputum production, and shortness of breath and wheezing related to the obstruction of the inflamed airways...

, anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is defined as "a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death". It typically results in a number of symptoms including throat swelling, an itchy rash, and low blood pressure...

, as a possible side effect of the drug pilocarpine
Pilocarpine is a parasympathomimetic alkaloid obtained from the leaves of tropical American shrubs from the genus Pilocarpus. It is a non-selective muscarinic receptor agonist in the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts therapeutically at the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor M3 due to its...

 (which is used to treat illness resulting from the ingestion of deadly nightshade
Deadly nightshade
Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as Belladonna, Devil's Berries, Death Cherries or Deadly Nightshade, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Solanaceae, native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane...

 as well as other things) and also as a side effect for beta blocker
Beta blocker
Beta blockers or beta-adrenergic blocking agents, beta-adrenergic antagonists, beta-adrenoreceptor antagonists or beta antagonists, are a class of drugs used for various indications. They are particularly for the management of cardiac arrhythmias, cardioprotection after myocardial infarction ,...

s (used to treat hypertension) and other drugs. It can present as a sign of giardiasis
Giardiasis or beaver fever in humans is a diarrheal infection of the small intestine by a single-celled organism Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis occurs worldwide with a prevalence of 20–30% in developing countries. In the U.S., 20,000 cases are reported to the CDC annually, but the true annual...


Bronchospasms are one of several conditions associated with cold housing.

Some of the things that can cause bronchospasms are consuming foods, taking medicines or getting insect bites or stings when one is allergic to them.

A few of the more common allergens are foods such as eggs, milk, peanuts, walnuts, tree and other nuts, fish, especially shellfish, soy and wheat; insect bites and stings, especially bee stings; and other medicines, especially penicillin and its derivatives.

The overactivity of the bronchioles' muscle is a result of exposure to a stimulus which under normal circumstances would cause little or no response. The resulting constriction and inflammation causes a narrowing of the airways and an increase in mucus
In vertebrates, mucus is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which...

 production; this reduces the amount of oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 that is available to the individual causing breathlessness, coughing and hypoxia
Hypoxia (medical)
Hypoxia, or hypoxiation, is a pathological condition in which the body as a whole or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. Variations in arterial oxygen concentrations can be part of the normal physiology, for example, during strenuous physical exercise...


Bronchospasms are a serious potential complication of placing a breathing tube
Tracheal tube
A tracheal tube is a catheter that is inserted into the trachea in order for the primary purpose of establishing and maintaining a patent airway and to ensure the adequate exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Many different types of tracheal tubes are available, suited for different specific...

 during general anesthesia. When the airways spasm or constrict in response to the irritating stimulus of the breathing tube, it is difficult to maintain the airway and the patient can become apneic.
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