Bronchitis (infection of the bronchi)


Chest | Pulmonology | Bronchitis (infection of the bronchi) (Disease)


Description

Bronchitis is inflammation of the mucous membranes of the airways that carry airflow from the trachea into the lungs called bronchi.

The symptoms of either type of bronchitis may include: chest discomfort, cough that produces mucus, fatigue, fever that is usually low, shortness of breath worsened by exertion or mild activity, wheezing and additional symptoms of chronic bronchitis include: ankle, feet, and leg swelling, blue-colored lips from low levels of oxygen and frequent respiratory infections such as colds or the flu.

Causes and Risk factors

Bronchitis may be short-lived (acute) or chronic, meaning that it lasts a long time and often recurs. Acute bronchitis is characterized by the development of a cough, with or without the production of sputum, mucus that is expectorated. Acute bronchitis generally follows a viral respiratory infection.

People at risk for acute bronchitis include: the elderly, infants, and young children; persons with heart or lung disease and smokers. Chronic bronchitis, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is characterized by the presence of a productive cough that lasts for three months or more per year for at least two years.

The following things can make bronchitis worse: air pollution, allergies, certain occupations (such as coal mining, textile manufacturing, or grain handling) and infections.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As any respiratory condition, test include: auscultation, chest x-ray, sputum culture.

The goal of treatment for bronchitis is to relieve symptoms and ease breathing. Medications can be prescribed: antibiotics and cough medication. If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs....