Bronchitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors
When the bronchial tubes (the tubes that carry air to your lungs) get swollen and inflamed, bronchitis develops. The condition can also cause mucus and nagging coughs.
There are two types of bronchitis:
Symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis include:
Acute bronchitis symptoms include:
Typically, even if the other symptoms of bronchitis are gone, the cough will often last for a few weeks while the bronchial tubes heal. If it lasts longer, the problem might be caused by something else.
With chronic bronchitis, cough can last for as long as 3 months. It is also possible for it to come back at least 2 years in a row.
In most cases, the same viruses that can cause flu or cold may cause acute bronchitis. In some instances, however, it is caused by bacteria. Either way, when the body fights the germs, the bronchial tubes make more mucus and swell. This causes the narrowing of the openings where the air can flow, making it hard for patients to breath.
Chronic bronchitis can also be attributed to the following:
Your chance of getting bronchitis is higher if:
While a single episode of bronchitis is often not a cause of concern, it might lead to pneumonia in some people. Repeated bouts may mean the individual has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
During the first few days, it can be difficult to differentiate the signs and symptoms from the common cold. During the physical examination, the doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs as the patient breathes.
When needed, the following tests may be recommended:
Pay your doctor a visit if your cough:
For people 75 years old or older with ongoing cough, check with your doctor right away. Your doctor might need to check if you have a flare-up of chronic bronchitis or COPD.
In most cases, acute bronchitis will go away on its own in a couple of weeks. If the condition is caused by bacteria (although rare), antibiotics may be given. If the patient has allergies, asthma, or wheezing, an inhaler may be recommended to open up the airways.
To ease the symptoms of acute bronchitis, you can:
The following treatment options may be recommended to those with chronic bronchitis
To lower your chances of chronic or acute bronchitis, keep in mind the following: