Bronchitis is a respiratory disease wherein the mucous membrane lining of the bronchial tubes in the lungs becomes inflamed. The bronchial tubes are air passages that extend from the trachea to the tiny airways and tiny air sacs of the lungs. Since the lining of all the bronchial tubes swells or gets contaminated, the mucous membrane thickens and eventually shuts off the airways.
The irritated bronchial passages make it hard for patients to breath since oxygen can’t easily reach their lungs. Patients frequently cough up heavy mucous called sputum or, in several cases, phlegm. Other signs of bronchitis include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest tightness in the airways.
The disease may impact both adults and kids. Bronchitis is among main conditions for which patients seek healthcare in the US. The condition can be acute or chronic.
Causes of Acute Bronchitis:
Acute bronchitis is normally caused by viruses, typically those that also cause colds and flu. It can also be caused by bacterial infection and exposure to substances that irritate the lungs, such as tobacco smoke, dust, fumes, vapors, and air pollution.
Air pollution is a threat for severe bronchitis in preschool aged kids.Polluted air includes air particulates generated as by-product of automobile exhaust, wood burning stoves, tobacco smoke, coal burning, and grilling food.
Acute Bronchitis – Acute bronchitis generally lasts one to 3 weeks and develops following a cold or upper lymph infection such as the flu.
The infection moves to bronchial tree a network of lymph structures found between the lungs and trachea resulting in a hacking cough, sometimes with green sputum. Other symptoms include of chest discomfort or fever, nausea, and sometimes difficulty breathing. Approximately 90 percent of cases are brought on by a virus, with the remaining 10 percent actuated by bacteria ailments.
Common viral causes of acute bronchitis contain lymph viruses that infect the upper lymph system such as flu viruses A and B, parainfluenza viruses, adenovirus, lymph syncytial virus, herpes simplex virus, rhinovirus, coxsackievirus categories B and A, and echovirus. Acute bronchitis can also be caused by bacterial germs like Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae.
Signs of acute bronchitis might include:
- Inflammation of the bronchi – Cough – Sore throat – Fever
- A cough with production of all clear, white, yellow, grey, or green sputum
- Chest congestion, discomfort or pain
- Difficulty breathing, especially with exertion.
- Muscle pain, Nasal congestion, Fatigue
Diagnosis of Bronchitis:
The doctor will ask about the symptoms and in particular the cough. They may also ask about the patient’s medical history, whether they have recently suffered from a cold or flu, whether they smoke, or whether they have been exposed to substances such as dust, fumes, vapors, or air pollution.
A doctor will usually use a stethoscope to listen for any abnormal sounds in the lungs. They may also examine mucus or test the oxygen levels in the blood and may recommend a chest X-ray, pulmonary lung function test, or blood tests.