Bronchitis is a condition, in which the mucous lining of the airways becomes swollen and irritated, and thus making it hard for sufficient air flow to pass to and from the lungs. Additionally, in severe cases of bronchitis, the cells that compose the lining might leak fluids into the lungs. Such occurrences, if remain untreated, might develop into pneumonia. A bronchitis might develop into a chronic bronchitis, which means, that the bronchitis is recurring or prolonged case.
Bronchitis can be recognized by the severe cough that goes along with it. Usually, this is the main reason people seek medical attention. Such couch may be dry or with phlegm, if the fluids, mentioned above are already present. A bronchitis usually lasts about two weeks, sometimes more. It is a pretty unpleasant disease(not that there are pleasant ones), because the prolonged time of illness and the severe cough cause abdominal and chest soreness.
Symptoms as muscle ache, nasal congestion, sore throat, fever and others are also likely, due to the fact that bronchitis normally comes along with upper respiratory infection or common cold.
Wheezing or breathing difficulty is another common bronchitis symptom.
Respiratory symptoms tend to wax and wane, resulting in “good days” and ”bad days”. The coughing and mucus production are often worse in the morning.
Smoking is the main cause for chronic bronchitis. There is also a correlation between the amount a person smokes and the chances this person to develop chronic bronchitis.
The risk groups of developing bronchitis are also people who had pneumonia or bronchitis before, or people with weakened immune system. Be aware, that chronic bronchitis can also be caused by second-hand smoking.
Other causes include occupational exposures to chemicals and exposure to air pollutants. There are cases that have no apparent cause.
The diagnosis of chronic bronchitis is made from the characteristic symptoms and characteristic medical history that includes a long history of smoking. Physical examination often reveals wheezes. Other tests include chest X rays, testing blood oxygen and carbon dioxide level, pulmonary function testing.
Prevention and Treatment
One way to treat and prevent bronchitis from forming is to avoid the triggers and causes for it in the first place. It is useful for a person to quit smoking, embark on a sensible exercise program and wash hands frequently to decrease the risk of infection.
Doctors will usually help you treat the symptoms until the bronchitis heals and goes away on its own. Some kinds of bronchitis are treated with antibiotics.
In a nutshell, do not allow your bronchitis to remain untreated, especially if you feel that the symptoms are getting worse, because it might develop into a more serious condition.