Mucolytic agents are given to patients with thick mucus and respiratory problems. A mucolytic agent dissolves thick mucus making it less sticky and thinner and helps with the coughing reflux therefore making it easier to expel thick mucus secretions.
Chronic Bronchitis and Mucolytic drugs
Chronic bronchitis sufferers often use mucolytic drugs to ease mucus production and swelling of the respiratory passages. Smokers are more exposed to chronic bronchitis as cigarettes release many poisonous gases and tar which tend to irritate the mucus membrane linings. Tar also clogs up the lungs causing the cilia (tiny hair like structures in the nasal passages and sinus cavities) which clean and protect the lungs to stop functioning. This in turn makes the lungs more susceptible to infections.
When a person’s lung becomes damaged and one experiences accompanying breathing difficulties it is then known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Other causes of chronic bronchitis include air pollution and allergies.
How does Cystic Fibrosis relate to Mucolytics?
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the lungs, digestive system and pancreas. During this condition, the body cannot move salt and water in and out of the cells resulting in the formation of thick mucus secretions by the lungs and pancreas and a subsequent blocking of vital air ways.
Cystic fibrous patients also produce more salt in their sweat. The loss of salt in the body during strenuous exercise or high temperatures can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion results in a person feeling weak, being unable to eat and chronically fatigued. A daily supplement of salt or salty foods should be consumed to balance salt levels in a cystic fibrosis sufferer’s body.
Patients diagnosed with Cystic Fibrous often use mucolytics to help thin mucus, open passageways (assist with breathing) and digestion.
Mucolytics can result in one experiencing bronchospasms. Bronchospasms occur when the bronchi swell and become narrow causing breathing difficulties.
- Mucolytic Drugs: Most mucolytic agents contain a substance called glutathione.
Glutathione assists with the breakdown of thick mucus. The use of either a nebulizer or face mask enables the mucolytic drug to enter the body and begin working to thin mucus secretions.
- Bronchodilators have been used by asthma patients for many years and help instantly in the opening up of bronchial passages. Bronchodilators are available in inhaled, injection, tablet and liquid forms.