Chest congestion is a rather common problem, as the symptom or condition may be associated with a variety of other health conditions and diseases. This could include common ailments such as a common cold or most other respiratory infections, as well as with conditions like heart disease.
So What Exactly is Chest Congestion? Chest congestion refers to a feeling of tightness or pressure and heaviness in the chest. Breathing may be labored as a result of this tightness and pressure, and chest congestion could in fact imply difficulty breathing and a restriction in the air flow. Congestion literally means obstruction to movement and in the context of chest congestion it refers to obstruction to the flow of oxygen into the lungs. Chest congestion symptoms are therefore mostly indicative of some underlying health condition and it would be wise to seek a prompt medical diagnosis, as many of the possible causes could prove life threatening if neglected.
Although chest congestion does not necessarily involve difficulty breathing, this is most often the case, and it is usually caused by a buildup of mucus or some fluid in or around the lungs. Chest congestion is an extremely uncomfortable and often painful condition in which the lungs fill up with excess of mucus and other fluids. Chest congestion is often accompanied with cough which is a natural method through which the body attempts to get rid of accumulated phlegm.
Sometimes, if a person has very severe congestion in the chest, the breathing mechanism actually becomes audible. The sound of a person struggling to breathe during chest congestion is much like a crackling noise. The person may have labored breathing, persistent cough and sometimes chest pain too.
The symptoms of chest congestion are easily identifiable. Shortness of breath, labored breathing, coughing, chest pain, dizziness, runny nose, wheezing, discomfort, blood in cough, and loud noises while breathing are all common symptoms of chest congestion. However, more often than not, chest congestion is itself a symptom that is accompanied by several other symptoms. If the chest congestion is caused by a flu, it may be accompanied by fever, chills, body aches and malaise. The symptoms of chest congestion therefore depend to a great extent, on the cause. These symptoms may appear in isolation or sometimes, all of them could also occur together.
Diagnosing the condition at home however is not really an option, but there are plenty of natural remedies for chest congestion that could offer considerable chest congestion relief. There is no home cure for chest congestion however, and any natural remedy for chest congestion will simply help to relieve chest congestion. Natural remedies are not an alternative to medical treatment. While minor conditions like a cold chest congestion or chest congestion from a cough may be treated quite effectively at home, the problem could in some cases be caused by a life threatening condition such as lung cancer. In such a scenario, prompt detection could make a huge difference to the final outcome of treatment.
Your doctor will be able to make an accurate diagnosis, and depending on the other symptoms that are present you may be required to go in for certain tests to ascertain the cause. Some tests that may be required depending on the presence of other symptoms could include blood tests for measurement of blood oxygen saturation or arterial blood gases, chest x-rays or CT scans, pulmonary function tests, and exercise testing, among others.
Chest congestion is not always a condition in itself, but is usually a symptom of some other health condition. Very often, infections of the lower respiratory tract cause chest congestion to develop, and the individual may notice such symptoms, with breathing difficulty and chest pain. Allergic reactions, like infections, can also cause an inflammation of the respiratory tract, as is the case in asthma. The inflammation is therefore an immune system response to the presence of a bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infection, or due to the presence of an allergen. When there is any inflammation of the airways, mucus tends to accumulate in the region, being one of the main chest congestion causes.
There are several causes of chest congestion, of which, common cold is the most common. However, chest congestion is often a symptom of a more sinister underlying disease. Chest congestion could be a sign of asthma, which is a chronic disease. It could also be caused due to bronchitis or pneumonia. Some of the other disorders associated with chest congestion are the flu, airborne allergies, gastroesophageal reflux, pulmonary edema, croup, heart failure, pneumonia, lung cancer, and cystic fibrosis.
Home remedies and natural treatment options can prove to be extremely useful in cases where the chest congestion is not threatening, or if it is not persistent, but simply a temporary symptom of mundane conditions like a flu or the common cold. If the condition persists or does not respond to treatment fast enough however, it would be imperative to visit your doctor immediately. however. Home remedies for chest congestion can also be used to provide relief from the symptoms in adults, children, toddlers or babies, and even for women while pregnant. In any situation where the congestion is very obviously caused by some minor ailment or due to a mild allergic reaction, natural treatment methods may be preferred. This is particularly true in situations where the use of pharmaceutical products is best avoided or restricted, such as during pregnancy. In some cases chest congestion causes pain and discomfort in the individual, and in these cases it may be advisable to administer some natural treatments for relief until medical treatment can be received.sought.
Treatment with natural methods and home remedies could involve the use of herbal cures and natural expectorants for relief from chest congestion. Aromatherapy is another natural discipline that is widely used in the treatment of chest congestion. Herbal medicine is also an important facet of natural treatment and it is most likely that you would come across some chest congestion home remedy that employs valuable herbs like ginger, garlic, or mint, which are also popular cooking ingredients. Hot herbal teas are also extremely popular and can offer considerable relief from chest congestion.
Inhaling steam is one of the best remedies for chest congestion. You can use a nebulizer machine that passes out steam, or simply boil a large bowl of water, pour it in a basin and then cover your head and inhale the steam. The heat of the steam will help to loosen up some of the hardened phlegm. This loose phlegm is easier to cough up. You can also gargle with warm water and salt twice or thrice a day. That too will help loosen up the phlegm. Aromatherapy also works along the similar lines and also employs steam inhalation as a method of treatment. Simply add a few drops of essential oil like eucalyptus to the steaming water. Eucalyptus oil is renowned for its healing properties and effectiveness in treating respiratory infections. Other essential oils that are also popular would include lavender and peppermint.
Herbal teas like ginger tea are also extremely effective when dealing with congestion as ginger exerts an anti-inflammatory effect, helping relieve the congestion. This effect of ginger has been verified in most scientific studies, although the results from some studies are disputed. Other herbal teas that can offer some relief from chest congestion include chamomile tea.
Chest congestion is usually a sign of a weak immune system. To improve your immune system and get rid of the congestion, consume a balanced diet. A diet rich in vitamin C and E can help boost up your immune system and take care of the congestion. With that, you can also drink herbal tea twice or thrice a day. Herbal teas also have many nutrients and help make your defense system stronger. A lot of citrus fruits like oranges, lime, grapefruit, and pineapple can be consumed to ensure that your immune system stays healthy and you are not affected by common cold.
In some instances your health care provider may also prescribe some nutritional supplements, but it would be best not to start self medicating with any supplements. Your doctor or a nutritionist would be in the best position to guide you in terms of dosage.
There are several alternate remedies to cure chest congestion. Pranayama in yoga can help you improve breathing and expand your lung capacity. It can also help you improve immunity. Aromatherapy is another great way to deal with chest congestion. Oils like those of eucalyptus, clary sage, pine and rosemary can be topically applied on the chest to help relieve congestion. A tea brewed with a few drops of chamomile can also help relieve congestion in the chest.
In addition to the use of medical treatment and home remedies for chest congestion it may also be advisable to make some minor lifestyle changes to control the problem.
Try and keep yourself well hydrated by consuming plenty of fluids, as this will help to not just keep you hydrated during your illness, but will also help thin out the mucus, reducing congestion. Consumption of carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks however does not constitute fluid intake and these will in fact worsen your condition. Simply drink a lot of water and fresh fruit juices.
Artificial heating and cooling indoors often aggravates the problem because of the excessively dry air, so it may be advisable to use a mist humidifier to ensure that your airways do not dry out too much and also to keep the mucus thin.