Bronchitis is an inflammation or infection of the cellular lining of the bronchial tubes. These tubes branch out from the trachea into the alveoli of the lungs, where air is absorbed into the bloodstream. This inflammation often results in the overproduction of mucus which can clog up the airways and make it difficult for air to diffuse through to the blood around alveoli.
As a result, patients might cough up a lot of mucus and have labored breathing. There are a lot of parallels between this condition and pneumonia, however, pneumonia primarily affects the alveoli, not the bronchioles.
Bronchitis is actually a very common condition that may be known as a chest cold, normally developing after the onset of a cold, and usually lasting for less than two weeks. However, if you frequently have periods of bronchitis-like symptoms, you should visit a physician as soon as you are able. These are the best medical specialist in lahore, if you require an appointment with one in that city.
Types of Bronchitis
There are two types of bronchitis, characterized by the severity and frequency of symptoms.
This type of bronchitis is the common kind and usually follows from a regular cold or viral infection. The symptoms of this condition can be easily treated using over-the-counter medications, and normally last about 10 days to a week. Symptoms may be exacerbated by smoking or other respiratory irritants.
Bronchitis might be diagnosed as chronic if it occurs for a period of at least 3 months over the course of a year, for two consecutive years. A major cause of this is smoking, but it might be caused by an infection or environmental irritants. If the production of mucus becomes severe enough to block airways and restrict breathing, then a patient might be diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
As mentioned above, bronchitis might be initially caused by a viral infection, such as influenza (the cause of the common cold), but bacterial infections may also cause it. Environmental irritants like toxic gases, allergens, air pollutants may all also cause bronchitis.
It must be said that chronic bronchitis is primarily caused by the smoking of tobacco, and secondhand smoke and also lead to the onset of the condition.
There are also certain factors that could put you at greater risk of developing the condition. These include:
- Asthma, or some other underlying respiratory illness or disease
- A family history of the condition
- Gastric reflux
Here are some of the symptoms that might be shared between the two kinds of bronchitis:
- A persistent cough
- Production of a lot of mucus that may appear clear, greenish or yellowish-gray, which may also contain blood
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- A fever or chills
- Difficulty in breathing (shortness of breath)
Acute bronchitis, specifically, might be accompanied by headaches or body aches, like those associated with flu infections or bacterial infections.
You should visit a doctor if your bronchitis lasts more than three weeks, if your mucus begins to appear red due to the presence of blood, and if it is significantly hampering your breathing. If you feel you need to, these are the best medical specialist in karachi, in case you need an appointment in that city.