Understanding Bronchitis


If you or anyone that you know has been diagnosed with bronchitis, it is important that you not only understand what the symptoms are but also the best way to treat it and deal with the discomfort that can arise. Bronchitis is basically a form of respiratory disease where the mucous membranes that are located within the bronchial passages of the lungs starts to become inflamed. Once the membranes are irritated, they will swell and start to grow thicker, which can lead to the narrowing or even shutting off of the small airways in the lungs. Individuals who have bronchitis will often start to fall into coughing spells that can come along with a level of breathlessness as well as the expulsion of phlegm.

People who get bronchitis will either have acute bronchitis that lasts for anywhere between one up to three weeks and then chronic bronchitis that can last anywhere from a few months all the way up to a year or more. There are also people who have asthma that come down with asthmatic bronchitis, which is the inflammation of the lining along the bronchial tubes.

If you have a hacking cough and even a lot of unexplained phlegm production, it could be due to acute bronchitis. Often times, this is a condition that can go hand in hand with an upper respiratory infection. While the infection can be viral, there can also be those that are caused from bacteria build up.

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is often much more severe and a serious long term condition that will require regular trips to the doctor and medical treatments to maintain a normal way of living.

Anyone who smoke that comes down with a bout of acute bronchitis can find that it will be harder to recover than someone who is a non-smoker. Each cigarette that is smoked works on damaging the small hair like structures called cilia that are found in the lungs. The cilia are there to help brush out excess mucous, debris and other irritants that can make their way into the air passages.

Continually smoking can cause an excessive amount of damage to the cilia which will make it so that they are unable to function properly. Damaged cilia mean that you are more susceptible to the development of chronic bronchitis. If you are a heavy smoker, you could have a constant level of inflammation around the lining of your airways and then your cilia will stop working altogether. Once your cilia are clogged with mucous, your lungs are then very vulnerable to a wealth of bacterial and viral infections. Over time, they can cause a lot of damage to your airways and keep you from breathing properly. This condition is known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD.

Chronic bronchitis is actually one of the forms of COPD, with the other one being emphysema. With either form of this disease it is very difficult to breathe. For the most part, acute bronchitis is fairly common. Even without professional medical assistance, the disorder can go away on its own with the right amount of care. However, if you find that your symptoms are persistent, it will be important that you make your way to the doctor as soon as possible for your treatment options.

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