Respiratory Congestion: Major Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment!

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Many of us feel that chest congestion is quite a prevalent symptom associated with conditions such as a normal cold, seasonal flu and so on. However, chest congestion could also be caused by dangerous diseases, which if ignored or not taken seriously could progress and lead to certain complications; complications here are those that have the potential to become life-threatening.

Major Causes of Chest Congestion

A term used in a non-medical way to describe the various symptoms that are related to the respiratory system. These symptoms are usually associated or mainly revolve around the formation and accumulation of excessive mucus in the respiratory passageways, and the lungs are called Chest Congestion.

This is mostly associated or related to inflammation of airways and lungs. This usually restricts airflow and also causes many respiratory symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness and so on.

Symptoms of Chest Congestion

The most common symptom that can be used to identify chest congestion is a wet cough. There is the formation of excessive mucus, and the patient also has difficulty in breathing, i.e., dyspnea. Here are a few other symptoms of chest congestion that could appear varying on the severity of the condition:

  • Fatigue
  • A change in the breathing sound
  • In acute cases there could be a change in color,e., there could be paleness or a blue tinge
  • A rapid increase in the breathing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Discomfort in the chest or chest pain

The other symptoms could be nausea, vomiting, fever, and headaches. The cause of these symptoms isn’t necessarily for chest congestion but rather a hidden cause. Many cardiovascular-related conditions like heart attack also show similar symptoms.

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Causes of a Congested Chest

The symptoms that are used for identifying could be because of chest congestion or sometimes because of an underlying disease or illness. The conditions described below are the most prevalent conditions. Pleuritis could also be an accompaniment to these diseases. In the case of Pleuritis, there is severe inflammation in the lung, i.e., the lining of the lung to be specific.


The bronchial tubes or the main airways within the lungs get infected. This condition is called Bronchitis. Acute bronchitis can be developed from various respiratory infections which also appear from a common cold. However, constant lung irritation can cause chronic Bronchitis; this happens mostly because of long-term tobacco smoking.

To conclude, despite the type of bronchitis, i.e., acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis can cause excessive production of mucus that tends to occupy the empty spaces in the lungs resulting in severe chest congestion.


Allergies are commonly known as inducing asthma, i.e., breathing difficulty which is usually a sign of chest congestion. The body detects harmful allergens and the potential danger it can cause to the body. In this case, the body tries to fight back by emitting certain chemicals. These chemicals, in turn, cause asthma, i.e., breathing difficulty, consistent cough and also show signs of postnasal drip.


Various infection can cause pneumonia; bacterial, viral, fungal or even parasitic. Autoimmune reactions are also capable of causing pneumonia. It can show several symptoms such as fever, nasal problems such as a blocked nose, and chest congestion. Pneumonia can vary from mild to life-threatening and is usually complicated by other health conditions of the individuals.


Tobacco smoking is a very prevalent cause of chest congestion. Smoking can cause accumulation of excess mucus in your lungs. It can also cause breathing difficulties and chest congestion because of the mucus in the respiratory tract. There is a high possibility that smoking can also cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which is a leading cause of chest congestion.


Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that takes place in the lungs. The bacteria, i.e., Mycobacterium tuberculosis doesn’t only affect the lungs but also various other organs such as the kidneys and the brain. When tuberculosis affects the lungs, it gives rise to severe coughing, chest congestion and a lot of pain and difficulty in breathing. This disease can be fatal if it is left untreated.

Treatment of Chest Congestion

Treating chest congestion can become quite complicated. While many simple illnesses can show chest congestion as a symptom, there could be an underlying illness that could potentially be fatal to the individual. Many treatments could treat conditions such as chest congestion.

The acutest illnesses that show chest congestion do not require a specific medical  However, taking extra care such as proper rest, consumption of a lot of fluid and having access to oxygen are necessary for recovery.

  • Bacterial infections are mostly treated with antibiotics
  • Coughing can be reduced temporarily by using cough suppressants
  • Mucus expulsion could also occur with expectorants
  • Asthma patients could be helped with Inhalers
  • Individuals suffering from COPD can use a nebulizer or pumps.
  • The more severe and chronic conditions can be healed using corticosteroids

The treatment administered to an individual depends on various factors such as the symptoms, causes, living conditions, affordability, and so on. Fluid accumulation in the air sacs gives rise to a condition that is called acute respiratory distress syndrome. This fluid accumulation causes a hindrance to the gas exchange in the lungs. This is an emergency that is most likely better to be managed in a controlled environment such as a hospital.

Chest congestion problems could either be harmless or could also be something very dangerous. They could show symptoms of a very life-threatening underlying cause. It’s important to identify the underlying cause as early as possible.

Chest congestion is a symptom of many simple conditions that can be treated. However, it is also a cause of many life-threatening diseases. It’s crucial for you to identify the cause of the chest congestion by assessing the symptoms at the earliest. Then, approach your trusted physician to identify the cause and battle the illness with proper treatment. Many lung diseases are often caused by environmental hazards and occupational exposure. Hence, take necessary precautions because prevention is better than cure.