Bronchitis: What You Need To Know

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Bronchitis is a swelling or inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are the air passages between the nose and the lungs. It is one of the most common diseases that affect the respiratory system. The disease can be categorized into two basic types: Acute and chronic.

Acute

This refers a widespread inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchial tree. It is associated with the following symptoms:

-Increased bronchial secretions, which may be accompanied by severe or less severe cough, with or without mucous.

-Chest discomfort or soreness,

-Fever or shortness of breath, in some cases.

Chronic

This type of bronchitis signifies the presence of other diseases of the respiratory system, including the airways, bronchi, and lungs. These other diseases are the main causes of the symptoms that are associated with this specific form of the disease. It is characterized by the following symptoms:

-Persistent cough accompanied by mucus secretion which can last for three months or longer. People who suffer from this condition have varying degrees of breathing difficulties and in addition, symptoms may get better or worse during different parts of the year.

This disease has become widespread in the last few decades. According to available statistics, it mostly affects people who are 50 years and above. In addition, it is more prevalent in men as compared to women. Men are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with this disease than women. Failure to get treatment for chronic bronchitis can lead to death as a result of pulmonary heart disease as well as emphysema, both of which can develop alongside this disease.

Causes and Symptoms

The causes of bronchitis include the following:

-Viruses, bacteria, and smoking,

-Coming into contact with allergens, mushrooms, as well as toxic substances.

In most cases, both types of bronchitis infection are passed from an infected person to another through air or the inhalation of infected saliva particles.

Symptoms of both types of this disease include:

-Severe coughing with mucus

-Sore throat

-Nasal congestion

-High fever

-Runny nose

-Labored breathing

-Wheezing

-Chest tightening

-Breathlessness

-Body aches

-Headaches

The disease may be accompanied by fatigue, inability to function properly, as well as reduced working efficiency as a result of the above mentioned symptoms. If coughing continues for a long period of time without any treatment, the disease can lead to asthma. If you happen to cough up blood accompanied by mucous, consult your doctor as soon as possible. This is because these symptoms could signify the presence of lung cancer or tuberculosis.

Treatment

People suffering from this disease are usually advised to rest, take over –the- counter drugs for suppressing coughs, drink fluids, breath warm and moist air, and take painkillers in order to ease breathing and manage symptoms. This is because most cases of this disease, especially its acute form, are caused by viruses, meaning that there are no special antibiotics to treat it. However, where it is caused by bacteria, antibiotics may be used to treat it. As a matter of fact, the idea behind treating the acute form of this disease is to get rid of the cough.

To help keep symptoms of this disease under control, doctors recommend the following:

-The patient should only eat soft, mild, and lightly spiced food,

-If one is a smoker, he or she should minimize smoking or quit altogether.

-Use bronchodilators: These help open bronchial tubes and clears out mucus.

– Join a Pulmonary rehabilitation program: This involves working with a respiratory therapist in order to help improve breathing.

-Taking anti-inflammatory, expectorant, as well as antitussive drugs for a well- rounded treatment.

For the chronic form of the disease, good maintenance therapy is necessary because the obstruction of the airways cannot be completely reversed.

Sourced from: Alot

Photo by frankieleon / CC by

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