Bronchitis is a respiratory ailment in which the mucus membrane in the lungs’ bronchial passages becomes swollen.
Bronchitis is an infection of the inside layer of the bronchial tubes, which transfer air to and from the lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Patients of bronchitis often have a cough that brings up mucus. Mucus is a slimy substance made by the inside layer of the bronchial tubes. Bronchitis also may cause wheezing (a shrilling or squeaky sound when a person breathe), chest pain or distress, a low fever, and shortness of breath. As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it contracts or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, initiating in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness.
The disease comes in two forms: acute (lasting from one to three weeks) and chronic (lasting at least 3 months of the year for two years in a row).
People with asthma may also have asthmatic bronchitis, inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes.
Types of Bronchitis:
The two main types of bronchitis are acute (short term) and chronic (ongoing).
Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.
Often developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very common. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, it is a continual irritation or soreness of the inside layer of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking.
Acute bronchitis usually improves within a few days without lasting effects, although you may continue to cough for weeks. However, if you have repeated bouts of bronchitis, you may have chronic bronchitis, which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Acute Bronchitis – Infections or lung irritations cause acute bronchitis. The same viruses that cause colds and the flu are the most common cause of acute bronchitis. These viruses are spread through the air when people cough. They also are spread through physical contact (for example, on hands that have not been washed).
Sometimes bacteria also cause acute bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis lasts from a few days to 10 days. However, coughing may last for several weeks after the infection is gone.
Several factors increase your risk for acute bronchitis. Examples include exposure to tobacco smoke (including secondhand smoke), dust, fumes, vapors, and air pollution. Eluding these lung irritants as much as possible can help lower your risk for acute bronchitis.
Most cases of acute bronchitis go away within a few days. If you think you have acute bronchitis, see your doctor. He or she will want to rule out other, more serious health conditions that require medical care.
Chronic Bronchitis – Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing, serious condition. It occurs if the inside layer of the bronchial tubes is constantly irritated and swollen, causing a long-term cough with mucus. Smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis.
Viruses or bacteria can easily infect the irritated bronchial tubes. If this happens, the condition worsens and lasts longer. As a result, people who have chronic bronchitis have periods when symptoms get much worse than usual.
Chronic bronchitis is a serious, long-term medical condition. Early diagnosis and treatment, combined with quitting smoking and eluding secondhand smoke, can mend quality of life. The chance of complete recovery is low for people who have severe chronic bronchitis.