Chronic Bronchitis


Chronic Bronchitis  

Chronic bronchitis is an extremely severe form of inflammation of the bronchi present in the lungs. This disease is a part of a set of lung diseases known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by constant cough accompanied by phlegm and mucus.

The swelling in the bronchial tubes and the mucus constrict the pathway of air in the lungs, thereby causing difficulty in breathing. 

As per statistics from the American Lung Association, approximately 9 million people in the United States were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in 2004. Analysis highlights that women are more prone to this form of bronchitis. It was noticed that in the same year, 2.8 million males were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis as against 6.3 million women. Although chronic bronchitis is seen to be detected in people of all age groups, those over the age of 45 are considered more susceptible to the infection.

As in the case of other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, the most widespread cause of chronic bronchitis is tobacco smoking followed by prolonged inhalation of harmful fumes and air pollutants. Once the body is down with this disease, lung infections are known to occur frequently. 

The most common indication of chronic bronchitis is productive cough, which denotes cough that generates phlegm. The phlegm could be green, yellow, orange or pink in color as per the causal pathogen of the disease. Other symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, discomfort in the chest, fever, fatigue and malaise.

The occurrence of cough for a period of 3 months over a span of 2 consecutive years serves as sufficient pointer for the doctor to conduct diagnostic tests for chronic bronchitis. A complete family, occupational and smoking history is a mandatory for proper diagnosis. The patient’s physical examination showcases breathing sounds, wheezing and extended expiration. A wide range of tests are conducted to confirm the analysis. These include pulmonary function test or spirometry, chest x-ray, sputum test and blood test.

Treatment is primarily aimed at adequate functioning of the air passage, which signifies that it should be open and devoid of mucus. In extremely severe cases, antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline are prescribed. Bronchodilators such as ipratropium; and corticosteroids are also found to be useful is such cases. Chest physiotherapy and maximum fluid intake is also recommended. However, the most vital element of treatment is cessation of smoking.

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How-Is-Bronchitis-Transmitted      Bronchitis is a disease of the bronchi that occurs due to an irritant causing swelling in the mucous membranes of the tubes. Consequently, the airway passage narrows down leading to breathing complexities. Bronchitis can be categorized into acute and chronic, depending upon the cause, symptoms and severity of the infection. More..


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