Lung conditions affecting mucus viscosity: What’s it all about?

Mucus (sputum) is made in the lungs. Some people suffer illnesses where they make too much mucus and/or it is too sticky. This can potentially produce a long-term chronic cough.

Examples of illnesses that cause a chronic cough with sticky mucus include chronic obstructive airways disease – COPD.

Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease explained:

Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that make breathing very difficult.

These conditions include:

  • emphysema where there is damage to the air sacs in the lungs
  • chronic bronchitis where there is inflammation in the lungs.

Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease – COPD

Symptoms and some causes

The main potential symptoms of COPD are increasing breathlessness, a persistent cough with phlegm, persistent wheezing and frequent chest infections.

COPD occurs when the lungs become inflamed, damaged and narrowed, one of the main causes of which is smoking. The risk increases the more a person smokes and the length of time they have smoked for.
But COPD can occur in people who have never smoked. Some cases of COPD are caused by exposure to harmful fumes, dust or other environmental pollutants.

A rare genetic problem can also cause damage to the lungs and result in COPD.

The primary aim of treatment is to help reduce symptoms and exacerbations and improve quality of life.

Living with COPD

Helping to manage lung infections, loosening and removing thick, sticky mucus from the lungs, improving airway clearance and oxygen absorption are a few of the essential fundamentals when it comes to managing respiratory health challenges in COPD.

Optimising lung function is a major aim of any condition care.

  • Copious sputum: a large amount of thick sputum is often associated with increased incidence of bacterial lung infections, exacerbating COPD symptoms and debilitating the patient, putting them at risk of general deterioration, reduced quality of life and limiting their independence.
  • Malabsorption means the failure of the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract, usually the small intestine, to absorb one or more substances from the diet. This is generally the result of some defect or damage to the mucosal lining of the small intestine, where most of our nutrient absorption takes place.
  • Digestive enzymes: These are proteins that break down larger molecules like fats, proteins and carbohydrates into smaller molecules that are easier to absorb across the small intestine. Without sufficient digestive enzymes, the body is unable to digest food particles properly, which may lead to food intolerance.