Why do the brochioles collapse?

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In summary, in emphysema, the enzyme elastase released by phagocytes causes the alveoli to lose their elasticity, leading to difficulty in exhaling. This also results in the collapse of bronchioles due to the increased pressure required for exhalation. This is a result of compromised alveolar function caused by the degradation of elastin.
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I have read the following in a textbook: "In emphysema, phagocytes release the enzyme elastase, which causes the alveoli to lose their elasticity. This interferes with their ability to relax and thus your ability to exhale. This also causes the bronchioles to collapse, which further prevents exhalation, and causes many alveoli to burst."

My question is why do the brochioles collapse?

Thanks in advance. :smile:
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Cheman said:
My question is why do the brochioles collapse?

The collapse is said to come about by the increase in pressure that is required to exhale. The excessive pressure is required due to compromised alveolar function, initiated by the degradation of elastin as you mention, and this overcomes the ability of the bronchioles to remain open. Check out http://rtmagazine.com/Articles.ASP?articleid=R0110A04 [Broken] under "pathophysiology".
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The bronchioles collapse in emphysema due to the loss of elasticity in the alveoli. As stated in the textbook, the enzyme elastase released by phagocytes causes the alveoli to lose their elasticity. This loss of elasticity interferes with the ability of the alveoli to relax and expand during exhalation. As a result, the bronchioles, which are the small airways that lead to the alveoli, also lose their ability to expand and contract properly. This collapse of the bronchioles further impairs the exhalation process and can also lead to the bursting of alveoli. This is why individuals with emphysema may experience difficulty breathing and have a decreased ability to exhale.

1. What causes the collapse of bronchioles?

The collapse of bronchioles can be caused by a variety of factors, including inflammation, muscle tension, and blockages. Inflammation can cause the walls of the bronchioles to become swollen and narrow, making it difficult for air to pass through. Muscle tension can also contribute to the narrowing of the bronchioles, as tense muscles can constrict the airways. Blockages, such as mucus or foreign objects, can physically block the bronchioles and prevent air from flowing through.

2. How does smoking contribute to bronchiole collapse?

Smoking is a major risk factor for bronchiole collapse. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can irritate and damage the bronchioles, leading to inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Over time, this repeated irritation and damage can cause the bronchioles to become permanently narrowed and collapsed, making it difficult for air to pass through.

3. Can bronchiole collapse be reversed?

In some cases, bronchiole collapse can be reversed. If the collapse is due to inflammation or muscle tension, medications such as bronchodilators or anti-inflammatory drugs can help to widen the airways and improve breathing. However, if the collapse is due to permanent damage or scarring, it may not be reversible.

4. Are there any long-term effects of bronchiole collapse?

There can be long-term effects of bronchiole collapse, especially if it is left untreated. Chronic bronchiole collapse can lead to complications such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and respiratory infections. It can also increase the risk of developing other respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

5. What can be done to prevent bronchiole collapse?

There are several ways to prevent bronchiole collapse, including avoiding smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, managing any underlying respiratory conditions, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations to prevent respiratory infections. It is also important to seek medical treatment for any symptoms of bronchiole collapse, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, or coughing, to prevent the condition from worsening.

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