Bronchitis is a disorder or rather an inflammation of the airways or bronchial tubes in the lungs. Mucus is formed in these tubes when they get irritated and that makes it harder for the air to get into the lungs. A person will know that he or she is suffering from bronchitis if he or she has symptoms like cough that produces mucus, trouble with breathing or a feeling of tightness in the chest.
A chronic bronchitis is a bronchitis that does not go away in less than three months.
What causes chronic bronchitis?
One of the most common causes of this disorder is cigarette smoke because it creates the mucus and irritates the bronchial tubes. Too much exposure to dust, chemical fumes or some other substance can also cause chronic bronchitis to appear.
How does the doctor know if a person suffers from chronic bronchitis?
First of all, the doctor will ask a series of questions about the symptoms. If he or she suspects that the patient might have chronic bronchitis, the doctor will order a few more tests like a pulmonary function test, a blood test or an X-ray.
What can a person do to help the breathing and reduce the coughing?
A person who smokes should stop doing that. If a person experiences some trouble with letting go of the cigarettes, the doctor will help.
Apart from the cigarette smoke, a person should also avoid inhaling dust, chemical fumes, hairspray or spray paint.
Can medicine treat chronic bronchitis?
There are some medications that a doctor may prescribe in this situation. For instance, there is a bronchodilator which will help with the dilation of the airways. In a majority of cases this medicine is inhaled and only a minority take it in form of a pill. If this does not help, the doctor will probably prescribe steroids.
Will antibiotics help chronic bronchitis?
Studies have shown that antibiotics should be given to a person who is suffering from chronic bronchitis only if there is a lung infection involved as well.
What about oxygen therapy?
Oxygen is prescribed only in cases when the medications do not help. However, if the patient is prescribed with oxygen, he or she should use it day and night.
What else can be done?
In order to make the muscles that help with breathing, a person should exercise regularly. He or she should start slowly but gradually increase the time spent exercising.