Bronchitis is an inflammatory disease of inner surface of bronchial tubes, part of respiratory system which carry air into the alveoli the smallest components of lungs. Through alveoli air saturated with oxygen is exchanged with the one rich in carbon dioxide.
Bronchitis can be acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis usually develops after common cold or other respiratory infection. On the other hand chronic bronchitis represents permanent irritation of bronchial tubes mainly caused by smoking. Treated properly acute bronchitis resolves within few days without any complications. Three or more attacks of bronchitis within two years may lead the doctor to assume that chronic condition has developed.
For both, acute as well as chronic bronchitis symptoms can include cough, extensive production of sputum, shortness of breath increased by mild exertion, wheezing while breathing, tiredness, and fever followed with chills and chest discomfort. The sputum/ mucus varies in color from white to yellowish or even greenish. Cough can be annoying and last up until several weeks after the conditions resolves. Other reasons may be involved but unlike in case of acute bronchitis in chronic bronchitis tubes are covered with scars and production of mucus is excessive. Morning cough in smokers may be caused by chronic bronchitis. People suffering from chronic bronchitis during a year experience worsening of symptoms caused by acute respiratory diseases.
Acute bronchitis is caused usually by viruses responsible for previous common cold. Bacteria are also culprits. It can develop as a result of inhaling someone else\'s cigarette smoke or be caused by certain irritants (smog or household cleaners).Some professions are exposed more to certain dusts and fumes which may also lead to bronchitis (this one is known as occupational bronchitis). Gastroesophageal reflux is a condition in which stomach acid regurgitates into the esophagus. If one is lying it may go further into the mouth from where can be inhaled. This way acid can irritate bronchial tubes and lead to bronchitis.
As for chronic bronchitis this condition is mostly caused by smoking. Still,air pollution, dust or toxic agents in the environment or at working place can lead to the condition as well.
Acute bronchitis resolves without any complications. If cough is irritating prevents you from sleeping or cannot be stopped easily the doctor my prescribe cough suppressants. The high temperature requires further investigation since it can point at pneumonia. Yellowish or greenish sputum may mean that bacterial super infection developed. In this case you will need antibiotics. Unlike acute bronchitis chronic bronchitis is much more serious and an illness of a lifetime.