A respiratory disease primarily characterized by coughing spells, Bronchitis is caused due to inflammation of the mucus membranes of the lungs. These membranes line the bronchial passage, and when irritated, then to grow thicker, thereby restricting the narrow airways in the lungs. This causes coughing which may be accompanied by phlegm and/or breathlessness.
Bronchitis is of two varieties – acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis lasts for anywhere between one to three weeks, post which most symptoms disappear. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, lasts for at least three months and occurs recurrently for a minimum of two years. The latter condition is serious for it tends to impede routine functioning in severe cases.
With both acute and chronic bronchitis, the symptoms are largely so similar. There are some typical signs and symptoms of this condition, on the appearance of which, one should consult a physician as soon as possible.
1. Coughing Spells
The most defining symptom of bronchitis is continual coughing spells. The coughs are usually short and weak, though recurrent in incidence. They are caused due to the constriction of the bronchial passage, caused by the irritation and swelling of mucus membranes. Often patients’, victim to acute bronchitis, do not seek and receive speedy medical attention for they take the symptoms to imply common cold or cough. Though it is usually rest, fluids and in some cases cough medication that physicians prescribe, it is best if the condition is detected early, so as to prevent the possibility of contracting chronic bronchitis.