The respiratory or pulmonary system in a human being is a vital system, since it provides the oxygen necessary for survival. The major organ of respiratory system is the lungs. However, respiratory system is comprised also of two parts; the upper respiratory tract and lower respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract includes nose, pharynx, larynx and trachea or windpipe. The lower respiratory tract is made of bronchi, alveoli and the lungs. The trachea branches into two bronchi, which further are branched into bronchioles that carry the air into the lungs. Alveoli are tiny sacs with thin walls, which are responsible for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi. When the inflammation occurs, the excessive mucous is produced and it blocks the airways. Therefore, shortness of breath and cough occur. Chronic bronchitis is diagnosed when cough, phlegm and mucus last more than three months in two successive years. Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis refers to the chronic bronchitis whose symptoms are more frequent are severe.
Causes of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis
This condition may be caused due to the exposure to certain toxic chemicals and allergens or irritants, such as pollution, cigarette smoke and pollen. Furthermore, acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, since the excess mucus, which is produced in the airways, is suitable for the overgrowth of both, viruses and bacteria.
Symptoms of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis
The symptoms of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis are the same symptoms that appear when chronic bronchitis is in question, although more aggravated. Therefore, people who suffer from this condition may experience severe cough, difficulty in breathing and chest congestion. Furthermore, fever, wheezing and shortness of breath may also appear as the symptoms of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis. When this condition is caused due to bacteria, then mucus is thicker and greenish or yellow in color. Mucus can even contain blood sometimes.
Treatment of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis
Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis caused by bacteria is usually treated by antibiotics. Furthermore, this condition is also treated with cough suppressants, oxygen therapy, corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Corticosteroids are used in order to reduce the inflammation of the bronchi, while bronchodilators are good for opening up the air passages. Cough suppressants are used to relieve the severe coughing, while oxygen therapy is used when the level of oxygen in the blood is low.