Chronic bronchitis is a certain long term type of medical condition which affects the respiratory tract and in most cases it is irreversible. This condition is mainly characterized by cough which produces excessive amounts of cough which lasts for more than three months every year, for two consecutive years. Bronchitis itself can be characterized as an inflammatory condition which affects the lining of all the airways inside the human body, and it can be chronic or acute by nature. Acute instances of bronchitis are only minor inflammatory conditions of the airways which usually resolve on their own in a matter of a few days without the need for any specific treatment method. Chronic bronchitis is a much more serious medical condition which requires professional medical care because it may lead to emphysema if it is left untreated. The airflow gets gradually restricted at the condition usually only gets worse over time, which leads to difficulties in breathing and excessive production of mucus in the lungs. Chronic bronchitis can actually be observed as a certain type of another medical condition which is referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. There are a large number of people around the world who suffer from COPD, and it is one of the leading causes of death everywhere around the globe. COPD is an umbrella term which includes various medical conditions such as chronic asthmatic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These different medical conditions may sometimes occur at the same time and quite often they involve episodes of worsening symptoms which are medically referred to as exacerbations. Exacerbations are known for varying degrees of severity and they can be triggered by a large number of different causes such as air pollution, fumes, dust, influenza, common cold, various types of infections and other environmental irritants. In some cases, exacerbations of chronic bronchitis may even be life threatening.
For those who do not know, the major cause of chronic bronchitis and all other diseases which fit under the COPD umbrella term is smoking. The inhaled smoke is known for paralyzing the cilia which are located along the lining of the air passages inside the human body. Smoking damages the cilia and reduces their ability to keep various irritants out of the lungs. The trapped mucus triggers the narrowing and the swelling of the bronchial tubes. The most common irritants include dusts, fumes and smoke, among others.