Bronchitis is nothing but an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are the air passages between the mouth and nose and lungs. If the bronchial tubes are inflamed because of one or other reason, you will have a condition known as bronchitis. When this happens, you can only take less amount of air and oxygen into your lungs. You will also not be able to clear heavy mucus or phlegm from the airways.
Bronchitis can result from viruses, bacteria and other particles. When they irritate the bronchial tubes, bronchitis happens. Acute bronchitis is a short illness and it is generally seen after a cold or a viral infection. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is a long-term illness. Chronic bronchitis may result from an environmental factors or extended illness. It is seen that cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis.
As mentioned earlier, it is a short-term illness. It generally follows a cold or viral infection. The patient will have cough with mucus, soreness and chest discomfort. Sometimes, fever and shortness of breath maybe they. It generally lasts for a few days or weeks only.
Chronic bronchitis is a serious illness. Symptoms of this illness includes persistent, mucus producing cough that continues for more than three months. If you suffer from such a cough for three months out of the year for more than two years, then you should be careful and see a doctor to find out if you are suffering from chronic bronchitis. It is seen that people who suffer from this problem generally have different degrees of breathing difficulties. The symptoms of the problem may get better or worse. Sometimes if this type of bronchitis happens at the same time with emphysema, then it can result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Causes of bronchitis
The most common cause of bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes. And it may happen due to viruses, bacteria or other particles that can irritate the tubes.
Causes of acute bronchitis
Virus is the main cause of acute bronchitis. These are the viruses which also cause cold and flu. Sometimes, a cute bronchitis may also be caused by bacterial infections and exposure to substances. These substances may include tobacco smoke, fumes, vapors, air pollution, dust etc. which irritate the lungs.
Causes of chronic bronchitis
If the airway tissue is repeatedly irritated and as a result of that lungs are damaged, then chronic bronchitis may happen. It is seen that smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. Other causes may include exposure to air pollution, dust, fumes and repeated cases of acute bronchitis.
Symptoms of bronchitis
There are several symptoms of bronchitis present which will help you to find out if you have that problem or not. These symptoms are common for both acute and chronic bronchitis. Such symptoms include
- Persistent cough
- Mucus producing cough
- Low fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Chest tightening
- Body aches
- Sinuses and blocked nose
The most common and main symptom of acute bronchitis is a cough that generally lasts for several weeks. Sometimes such a cough may also lasts for several months. The duration of the cough will depend on how much time is necessary for complete healing of the bronchial tubes.
The most common symptom of chronic bronchitis is having a very bad cough two or more times every year. The cough becomes worse during the winter months.