Mucus in the bronchi | What are the symptoms of bronchial asthma?

Mucus in the bronchi

Bronchial asthma is a disease in which the airways are chronically hypersensitive to external stimuli. It is called a hyperreactive bronchial system. This leads to recurrent inflammation of the bronchial mucosa.

The hypersensitive airways react to certain triggers with a sudden swelling. This leads to a narrowing of the airways. In addition to the swelling, there is a massive increase in the production of viscous mucus within a short time.

This mucus also leads to a reduction in lung ventilation. The mucus can usually be difficult to cough up during an acute attack. A relatively recent study has shown that the production of viscous mucus is perhaps not only a symptom but also a cause of asthma. It was shown in an animal model that a genetically determined dry lung mucosa increases the risk of producing tough mucus. This mucus, in turn, increases the risk of developing respiratory hypersensitivity to certain triggers such as allergens in the first place.


Coughing is a typical symptom of an asthma attack. In an acute attack, the bronchial mucosa produces an increased amount of viscous mucus. This leads to an additional irritation of the respiratory tract and to a coughing irritation.

The thick, glassy secretion is difficult to cough up. However, the cough does not only occur during an acute attack but can be a chronic companion in bronchial asthma. A cough that appears outside the acute asthma attack is often a dry, irritable cough.

Asthma patients suffer more frequently from coughing at night. It is not uncommon for patients who do not have a known asthma to have a chronic cough as the reason for a doctor’s appointment. This topic might also be of interest to you:

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During an acute asthma attack, the bronchial mucosa produces much tougher mucus. Therefore, productive coughing, i.e. coughing with expectoration of mucus, often occurs during an acute attack. Since the mucus produced is relatively tough, coughing up is often difficult. In the interval, i.e. outside of an acute asthma attack, the cough of asthmatics is usually rather dry and rarely accompanied by significant sputum.


Tachycardia is not a characteristic symptom of asthma. However, an acute asthma attack means severe stress for the body. The airways become narrower, resulting in shortness of breath. This is often accompanied by an accelerated heartbeat and even tachycardia. After adequate treatment of the asthma attack, the tachycardia quickly subsides.


Nocturnal symptom activity also plays a significant role in the therapy of bronchial asthma. The fact that asthmatic symptoms can occur more frequently at night is related to the fact that the airways are particularly narrow in the early morning hours. This is the time when asthmatics often experience symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

If this is the case again and again, the clearly disturbed night’s sleep can lead to chronic daytime tiredness. It is therefore very important to inform the doctor about the symptoms occurring at night. The asthma therapy must then be adjusted so that nocturnal symptoms disappear as completely as possible.