Bronchitis

Last Updated: October 29, 2018

Definition - What does Bronchitis mean?

Bronchitis is a respiratory illness characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the lungs. These tubes carry air from the windpipe to the lungs. When infection, tissue is damage, or exposure to airborne irritants causes these tubes to become swollen or inflamed, breathing may become difficult.

Symptoms of bronchitis include chest congestion, excess mucous production, coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Bronchitis suffers may also experience fatigue, sore throat, or a fever related to the underlying illness.

WorkplaceTesting explains Bronchitis

Bronchitis may be chronic or acute. Acute bronchitis is usually triggered by an underlying illness such as a cold or the flu. The symptoms of acute bronchitis usually clear up after a few weeks without causing permanent damage to the bronchial tubes. Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing illness. It is a type of obstructive pulmonary disease. The symptoms of chronic bronchitis may be mild or severe.

One of the most common causes of chronic bronchitis is smoking. However, inhalation of air pollutants, toxic fumes, or dust such as those found at some work sites may also cause chronic bronchitis to develop.

Individuals with chronic bronchitis may experience symptoms for months or years. Chronic bronchitis is often characterized by excessive mucous build up and frequent coughing. Individuals suffering from chronic bronchitis are more susceptible to contracting other respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia or long-term bacterial infections in the lungs.

Chronic bronchitis may require ongoing treatment. Lifestyle changes can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Bronchitis sufferers should stop smoking and avoid exposure to second hand smoke. They should also avoid exposure or use of aerosol products and wear a mask when using volatile chemicals such as varnish or paint. Medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, and oxygen therapy are all possible treatments for chronic bronchitis.

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