Acute Bronchitis: What is it?

Acute bronchitis is very short-lived and only lasts about two weeks. Most of the people will recover without any permanent damage to the bronchial tree. The majority of cases come from influenza or respiratory syncytial viruses. There are a few cases that have been the result of tobacco smoke or gastric reflux contents, typically less than ten percent of cases come from these types of irritants.

Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of chronic bronchitis include:
• Coughing
• Wheezing
• Fever
• Chills
• Malaise
• Shortness of breath

There are a few people who may end up coughing up phlegm. Chronic bronchitis is different from acute bronchitis in a lot of different ways, such as: disease progression, causes, treatments and potential outcomes.

Chronic Bronchitis: What is it?

If you are dealing with a cough that occurs on a daily basis with sputum for longer than three months, you may be dealing with chronic bronchitis. The definition came into play to help develop a standard for medication therapy to help combat chronic bronchitis.

Your bronchi may develop an inflammation that results in swelling and a lot of mucus production. There may be a difference in the level of inflammation, and many of the cells lining the airway will end up losing their functions and eventually become lost. The cilia move the particles and fluid over the surface lining to various structures to help keep all of the hollow structures free of any fluids and particles. Those cells that help clear everything out will then be replaced by goblet cells, which help secrete the mucus into the airway.

The warmth in the environment of the airway combined with the nutrients that are found in the mucus helps provide excellent breeding grounds for bacteria. You will notice that the mucus will become infected and change colors from all of the bacteria growth. The inflammation and swelling coupled with the increase in mucus limits the airflow into the lungs by obstructing the bronchioles.

You can help stimulate some of your surrounding muscles of the airway through irritation. When your muscles spasm it can result in your airways narrowing even more than usual. If you have inflammation that last for some time, you will end up with a fixed condition where the airways are narrowed. When your body attempts to clear the airways and open them up you will notice an increase in mucus from the constant coughing and inflammation. Chronic bronchitis is a disease that will continue progressing over time.

Anyone can develop chronic bronchitis, but the majority of people who develop the condition are at least 45 years old or older.

What Can Cause Chronic Bronchitis?

There are a lot of different causes of chronic bronchitis, but cigarette smoking is the leading cause of the disease. It is estimated that almost half of the people who smoke end up with chronic bronchitis and about a quarter end up with emphysema or COPD. Almost 90 percent of the cases are related to either smoking or coming in contact with secondhand smoke on a regular basis.
If you come in contact with a lot of strong solvents or chemicals, you could be a candidate for chronic bronchitis. Someone who suffers with a lot of viral infections may end up with chronic bronchitis from all of the infectious agents. It has also been said that certain underlying disease processes have been known to cause chronic bronchitis, including: asthma, cystic fibrosis and congestive heart failure to name a few. You have to remember that those are few less common than developing the condition because of cigarette smoking.

Risk Factors for Chronic Bronchitis

Even though the biggest risk factor for developing chronic bronchitis is smoking, there are still other risks that could lead to the disease. It could be anything from exposure to pollutants, such as ammonia, chlorine and bromine, to dust, pneumonia and gastric reflux.