|What Is Bronchitis ?
The bronchial tubes are a part of the respiratory system, and their function is to pass air from the trachea, or wind pipe, to the lungs. The air passage is lined with tiny hair like structures known as cilia. Under normal circumstances, the cilia filter and stop irritant particles from entering the lungs.
Bronchitis is a disease of the bronchial tubes. More than 14 million people in the US are diagnosed with this problem every year. During this medical condition, these tubes suffer inflammation. As a result of this inflammation, the membrane of the bronchial tubes increases in thickness and the cilia stop functioning. Due to these factors, the passage of air gets constricted, posing problems in breathing. Excessive amounts of mucus or phlegm is also formed in the airways that further aggravate the situation.
There are two kinds of bronchitis, namely acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is a milder form of the disease that is cured in a few days or weeks. It is caused mainly due to viral infection, but sometimes can be caused due to bacterial infection. The initial symptom of this type of bronchitis is sore throat or cold.
Treatment is not very complicated. Ample rest and high intake of fluids can do the needful. The disease does not leave any permanent effects on the body.
On the other hand, chronic bronchitis can cause grave problems. Many people do not even realize that they have the disease till they reach the age of 40. There are others who underestimate the gravity of the issue, and choose to ignore the symptoms until the disease reaches an advanced stage. However, early diagnosis can prevent significant damage to the lungs.
An individual suffering from chronic bronchitis experiences constant cough accompanied with excess phlegm. Studies show that inhabitants of southern US are more susceptible to this disease. Research also projects that about 80 to 90 percent of the cases of chronic bronchitis are caused due to smoking.
Treatment only offers respite from the severity of symptoms. Since till date, no cure has been discovered for chronic bronchitis.
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