Bronchitis is a medical condition which affects the respiratory tract. It can be rather painful and it involves the inflammatory condition of the airways known as bronchi which connect the mouth and the nose with the lungs. Bronchitis may also sometimes occur when the windpipe or trachea become infected. The longevity and the symptoms of the condition determine whether bronchitis is a chronic or an acute one. Children are also very susceptible to a similar type of medical condition which is referred to as bronchiolitis. If it occurs too often it may lead to the development of asthma.
Chronic bronchitis is a form of COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is characterized by cough, phlegm, irritation and mucus discharge. It is deemed chronic when the symptoms of the disease linger and reoccur constantly for months or sometimes even years. The most common symptoms of chronic bronchitis include persistent fatigue, chest pain, expectorant cough and wheezing. It may lead to other respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, and it is usually triggered by bacterial infections, vital infections and cigarette smoking.
Chronic bronchitis is also often confused with emphysema because the two conditions have very similar symptoms. Acute bronchitis also gets triggered by numerous different sorts of bacterial or viral infections. It is commonly affiliated with influenza, common cold and sinus infections. The risk factors include dust, mold, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke and various other airborne irritants and pollutants. The most common symptoms of acute bronchitis may include fever, abdominal ache, dizziness, lightheadedness, coughing, sore muscles, chest pain and inflammation of the bronchial airways. Both types of bronchitis are easily diagnosed by performing a chest exam. Some cases may also require blood tests and X-rays. In some rare cases, the doctor may order certain pulmonary function tests as well.
Bronchiolitis is a form of bronchitis which occurs in children, it is characterized by inflammatory conditions and it is commonly triggered by certain viruses. The most common symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, mild fever, sneezing and a runny nose. This disease is very contagious.
Treatment and Prevention
Acute bronchitis usually clears up all by itself, but in some cases the inflammatory conditions need to be alleviated with a bronchodilator. Some extreme cases may also require the use of antibiotics. Chronic bronchitis is commonly treated with certain types of prescribed corticosteroids and bronchodilators. It is also highly recommended to quit smoking during the treatment.