When you feel tightness or discomfort in the chest it is known as chest congestion. When mucus or phlegm gets accumulated in the lower part of the respiratory tract or when your alveolar walls and lung capillaries become distended with blood, chest congestion occurs.
If you are experiencing chest congestion it might be an indication that you have become victim of viral infection. Chest congestion usually occurs in winter season because in this season you are likely to fall victim of cold, flu etc. But this problem can occur in any season and to people belonging to any age group.
The person experiencing chest congestion faces problems like chest pain and difficulty in breathing because of the large amount of mucus accumulated in the lungs.
Causes Of Chest Congestion
There are numerous causes of chest congestion; some of them are given below.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia is one of the major causes of chest congestion. In this condition too virus or fungus causes swelling or inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract, which in turn causes breathing problem as well as other discomforts. Pneumonia is a serious disease which could prove to be fatal if you do not seek proper medical help immediately. Pneumonia, especially viral Pneumonia causes mucus accumulation in the lungs which eventually causes chest congestion and chest pain.
Bronchitis: Bronchitis is also one of the leading causes of chest congestion. In Bronchitis the bronchial tubes gets inflamed and also swelling occurs in the mucous membranes. In this condition the production of mucus increases which constricts the airways that results in problem while breathing. The respiratory tract gets filled with excess mucus which eventually leads to chest congestion.
Flu: It is one of the most common causes of chest congestion all over the world. Flu (influenza) is also caused due to virus which attacks the respiratory tract and causes inflammation and produces too much mucus. This makes the patient to have difficulty in breathing and the patient may feel restlessness and chest pain.
Common Cold: If you have developed common cold you are likely to experience chest congestion. The reason behind this is that the viruses that cause common cold may also secrete mucus in your lungs which develop chest congestion. You may also suffer from runny nose and sneeze continuously because of the virus attack on your respiratory tract.
Tuberculosis: It is a fatal lung disease which can cause chest congestion to great extent and the patient can suffer from breathing problems. The patient also starts coughing up blood. In tuberculosis fluid start accumulating in the lungs which goes on increasing day by day if proper treatment is not provided on time. If it is not treated timely and if its full course is not taken it can prove to be life threatening.
Sinusitis: A person suffering from sinusitis experiences chest congestion occasionally due to excess mucus production. Mucus produced in excess quantity keeps collecting in the respiratory tract and lungs which cause chest congestion and difficulty in breathing.
Allergy: Allergy too causes chest congestion that also causes nasal blockage and itchy eyes or watery eyes. This happens due to the allergens present in the environment that irritate the lungs leading to chest congestion.
Asthma is also one of the main causes of chest congestion.
Chest congestion symptoms
Tightness in chest is one of the main symptoms of chest congestion. Difficulty in swallowing is also another symptom of chest congestion. Difficulties in breathing, talking etc are some other chest congestion symptoms. People suffering from chest congestion may also show some symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pain, etc. The symptoms depend upon the cause of chest congestion.
In some cases chest congestion is also accompanied with fever and chills. When you cough out the phlegm you start getting relief from chest congestion.
Home Remedies for Chest Congestion
While treating chest congestion you should always keep in mind to treat the root cause of the problem. Doctors prescribe different medicines depending upon the causes of the chest congestion.
Apart from medicines to cure chest congestion there are some other remedies also that cures it. Some home and natural remedies for chest congestion are given below.
Garlic Tea: Garlic tea is very beneficial in giving you relief from chest congestion if it is caused due to cold, flu or minor infections. Garlic tea helps your mucus to be eliminated from your lungs in the form of cough. In this way the mucus accumulated in your lungs and respiratory tract gets cleared and you get relief from chest congestion. If you are not diabetic you can mix honey in garlic tea for double benefits.
Garlic is full of powerful antioxidants and honey contains high levels of powerful antioxidant Vitamin C which is very beneficial in cold and flu. Boil garlic for nearly 10 minutes in water and when it cools down mix one or two teaspoons honey and sip the mixture.
Steam: It is recommended to inhale steam if you’re suffering from chest congestion, nasal congestion or runny nose. When you inhale steam it goes into your respiratory tract and thus your mucus becomes lose and allows air to pass that eventually gives you relief from nasal congestion.
Hot Shower Bath: This is also a good home remedy to get relief from chest congestion. Once again it is the steam that works here to ease chest congestion and release mucus from your lungs and respiratory tract. But if chest congestion is due to tuberculosis or asthma attack or any serious disease than this remedy may not work so much and you would need to consult your doctor.
Eucalyptus Oil or Peppermint Oil: If your chest congestion is due to bronchitis then this oil would prove to be very beneficial in relieving your chest congestion. Eucalyptus Oil or peppermint oil can be taken in the form of steam by the process of inhalation.
Hot or Warm Tea: It generates heat in the respiratory tract and loosens the mucus which provides relief from chest congestion. You can also consume green tea for better relief.
You should increase the consumption of foods rich in Vitamin C to fight cold and flu virus and to boost your immune system. Spicy foods also help in giving relief from chest congestion. Drinking liquid prepared by mixing warm water in turmeric powder also relieves chest congestion.
Besides all the above home remedies, drink plenty of water. If you find the symptoms serious consult your doctor.