Ever swallow something down the wrong tube? This likely caused a short spell of wheezing and coughing chest pain.
Usually, when you aspirate (suck in) more than just air, your gag reflex coughs the troublesome stuff back up. This is done with lightning speed before it gets to your lungs.
However, if you have a swallowing problem, your gag reflex may fail to expel the unfit for lung consumption. Typical aspiration substances involve:
When these things get into your lungs, they can cause damage, blockage and bacterial, viral or fungal infections. In turn, potentially causing aspiration pneumonia. And the more acidic the material, the more severe your lung injury.
The symptoms of aspiration pneumonia depend on what you inhaled and how much. Range of symptoms include:
- breath odor
- noisy breathing
- frequent coughing
- shortness of breath
- excessive sweating
- swallowing difficulty
- coughing chest pain
- deep breath chest pain
- can’t get enough air feeling
- something stuck in your throat
- feel dizzy, faint, anxious, confused
- coughing up smelly, pussy, frothy, greenish, bloody sputum
It may take a couple of days for aspiration pneumonia symptoms to kick off. Yet, once they do, they can get worse very quickly.
A few conditions or situations that put you at a higher risk for wheezing, coughing chest pain aspiration pneumonia are:
- old age
- in a coma
- head injury
- dental problems
- taking sedatives
- under anesthesia
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson disease
- not fully conscious
- overdosing on drugs
- esophageal disorders
Aspiration pneumonia can be a very serious condition. Also, it may cause other health complications, like:
The sooner you get this pneumonia treated, the better your outcome.
Treatment varies and may require antibiotics, help with breathing or actual removal of that which you aspirated. For some, it takes a long time to get healthy after having aspiration pneumonia.
So, if you’re having problems swallowing, then talk with your health care person about a resolution.