What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes which is the air passages between the nose and the lungs. People with bronchitis have a reduced ability to breathe oxygen into their lungs; they also have heavy mucus or phlegm forming in their airways. In addition, bronchitis may be either acute or chronic. Often developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very common. Acute bronchitis usually improves within a few days without lasting effects, although you may continue to cough for weeks. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is a constant irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking. 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). These are the two types of bronchitis that may occur.
How does Bronchitis Affect the Respiratory System?
When you have bronchitis, the lining of the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that connect your windpipe (trachea) and your lungs, swells and becomes inflamed. This causes the bronchial tubes to produce excess amounts of mucus which partially blocks the airway and causes the wet cough that is typical of bronchitis. In cases of the less common and more severe form known as chronic bronchitis, ongoing inflammation of the bronchial tubes can cause them to thicken and become scarred, leading to long-term damage and damaging the respitory system. http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/respiratory/bronchitis.html
Signs and Symptoms
For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
- Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with blood
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
Tests are usually unnecessary in the case of acute bronchitis as the disease is usually easy to detect through your description of symptoms and a physical exam. The doctor will simply use a stethoscope to listen for the rattling sound in your lungs' upper airways that typically accompanies the problem. In cases of chronic bronchitis, the doctor will likely get an X-ray of your chest to check the extent of the lung damage, as well as pulmonary function tests to measure how well your lungs are working. The level of oxygen in your blood may also be checked with a small sensor that is clipped on your finger. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bronchitis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20014956
People suffering from bronchitis are usually instructed to rest, drink fluids, moist air and take over-the-counter cough suppressants and pain relievers in order to manage symptoms and ease breathing. Also getting a priscription for an inhaled bronchodilator and/or cough syrup. In some cases of chronic bronchitis, oral steroids to reduce inflammation and/or supplemental oxygen may be necessary. http://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-bronchitis-basics
In some circumstances, your doctor may prescribe medications, including:
- Antibiotics. Bronchitis usually results from a viral infection, so antibiotics aren't effective. However, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic if he or she suspects that you have a bacterial infection.
- Cough medicine. It's best not to suppress a cough that brings up mucus, because coughing helps remove irritants from your lungs and air passages. If your cough keeps you from sleeping, you might try cough suppressants at bedtime.
- Other medications. If you have allergies, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs.
Here is a video that shows an overview of Bronchitis. -->