Chronic Bronchitis - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
Although coughing is a method for your body to expel irritants from your lungs, too much coughing can be detrimental. If you've had a cough for an extended amount of time, you may have chronic Bronchitis. Want to know what chronic Bronchitis is and what are the Cause Of Chronic Bronchitis? We got you covered. Keep reading!
Chronic Bronchitis and Its Types
Bronchitis happens when there is persistent inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes. This can lead to difficulty breathing, excessive mucus production, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
There are generally two types of Bronchitis: First being Chronic Bronchitis and the other being Acute Bronchitis.
- Acute Bronchitis is generally caused by a bacterial or viral infection, such as a cold, and goes away within a week or two. Acute Bronchitis usually passes without the need for medical intervention, and even if any is required, it is of a minor degree.
- It is one type of (COPD) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease characterized by persistent inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes that develops over time.
It is a more severe condition, Symptoms might improve or worsen, but they will never go away completely. Prolonged inflammation leads to the buildup of sticky mucus in airways, resulting in long-term breathing problems.
Chronic Bronchitis is a lung disease that is characterized by a constant, productive cough that lasts for at least three months. People with chronic Bronchitis often have recurring episodes of the condition, lasting for two years or more. During these periods, symptoms may worsen due to additional acute infections.
Common symptoms of chronic Bronchitis Include
- A persistent cough with mucus,
- Chest tightness or discomfort,
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired
Other Symptoms Include
- Lower oxygen levels in the body can cause cyanosis, which is when lips, fingernails, and skin appear bluish.
- Swollen feet
- Heart failure
- Crackling sounds with breathing
These symptoms typically worsen with physical activity and improve with rest. Symptoms may worsen in the winter when humidity and temperatures drop.
Symptoms of Bronchitis Often Happen Concurrently with other Lung Diseases, Such as:
- Pulmonary emphysema
- Upper respiratory infections
- Scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis)
Causes Of Chronic Bronchitis
Cigarette smoking is the ultimate Cause Of Chronic Bronchitis. More than 90% of people who suffer from this disease are current or former smokers. Other essential things that put you at risk for developing Bronchitis include:
- Passive smoking or secondhand smoke
- Exposure to air pollution or irritating fumes and chemicals, Dust, engine exhaust, welding fumes
- Repeated bouts of acute Bronchitis.
- It also develops as a result of recurrent respiratory infections.
- Gastric reflux - If you suffer from heartburn frequently, it can damage your throat and make you more susceptible to developing Bronchitis.
Most acute Bronchitis cases are a virus caused, which are the same as those that cause colds and flu. However, antibiotics don't destroy viruses; therefore, this type of medication wouldn't help treat Bronchitis in most circumstances. Women, as compared to men, are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with chronic Bronchitis. Most people who have the disease are between 44 and 65 years old.
Diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis Typically Involves
- Physical exam,
- Review of symptoms (medical history),
- Pulmonary function tests (PFT) - Spirometry and Peak flow monitor
- Imaging tests - Chest X-ray and Computed tomography(CT Scan)
- Blood tests - Arterial blood gas
- Pulse oximetry
- Family history
Chronic Bronchitis Treatment
Chronic Bronchitis Treatment cannot cure the disease. However, they can help lessen symptoms, prevent the disease from getting worse, and make it easier to stay active. There are also treatments available to stop or reverse any complications that arise from the disease. The various Chronic Bronchitis Treatment options include:
- Medicines - Bronchodilators work by making muscles relax around your airways, which then makes it easier to breathe. Most bronchodilators come in inhaler form. For more severe cases, there may also be inhalers with steroids included helping reduce inflammation.
- Getting vaccinated against common respiratory infections like flu and pneumococcal pneumonia.
- Antibiotics - If you contract a viral or bacterial lung infection,
- Oxygen therapy - If you have chronic Bronchitis that is constantly severe and your blood oxygen levels are low, oxygen therapy can help improve your breathing. You may need to use extra oxygen round-the-clock or only during specific activities.
- Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
- Medication and supplemental oxygen may be needed in severe cases or during flare-ups.
- Physical activity can strengthen your respiratory muscles and improve your overall health.
- In order to take out the damaged parts of the lung, a reduction surgery is done, which makes breathing easier for people with Chronic Bronchitis.
- Humidifying the air
- A lung transplant is a final solution for people who have intense symptoms that did not improve with medication.
In some cases of Chronic Bronchitis Treatment, lung surgery may be necessary to open up airways and improve breathing, but that should be considered the last step due to its high complications.
Since we know Chronic Bronchitis Treatment is not permanent and the disease cannot be cured, It is crucial to get medical attention if you think that you have chronic Bronchitis, as it often leads to severe complications such as pneumonia or lung failure, which can sometimes be fatal.
It is also important to take steps to prevent the condition, such as avoiding smoking and reducing exposure to air pollution. With proper Chronic Bronchitis Treatment and management, many people with chronic Bronchitis can lead relatively normal lives. However, it is a chronic, incurable condition and requires ongoing medical attention for the control of symptoms.
It is crucial to have medical attention if you think that you may have chronic Bronchitis, as it can lead to serious complications. Chronic Bronchitis Treatment and management of the condition can help improve symptoms and prevent further complications.
Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to air pollution are important steps in preventing the major cause of chronic Bronchitis. It is important to know that we keep in mind that people who have chronic Bronchitis can still live a full and active life.