Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi of the lungs. It is a pulmonary disease from the COPD category. COPD means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the agents that may lead to this disease are viruses, bacteria, fungi or just breathing a polluted air, smoking or breathing the cigarettes smoke.Low temperatures in winter also influences the inflammation.
There are a lot of symptoms that are characteristic in Bronchitis. First of all there is a persistent, expectorating, dry or wet cough which is very frustrating for the patient, dyspnea or shortness of breath, fatigue, mild fever and mild chest pains.The breath sounds are also very important for the diagnosis. In Bronchitis apes the rhonchi which is the result of a decreased intensity of breath sounds and extended expiration.
There are two kinds of Bronchitis. The acute or the short -term Bronchitis and the chronic or long-lasting one. There are different agents that determine the disease. Acute bronchitis is often the result of influenza, a cold or an infection. It may be caused by viruses or bacteria. Smoking, pneumoconiosis, excess alcohol consumption and exposure to cold and draughts are the most frequent agents that cause chronic Bronchitis. Chronic Bronchitis manifests with a persistent cough that produces sputum that lasts from three to six months during one or two years. Only in this circumstances can we talk about chronic Bronchitis. It also involves long lasting irritation caused by inhaling certain substances and especially tobacco smoke. This harmful substances determine the glands of the trachea and bronchi to increase the secret of mucus. In this case the mucus can not be evacuated anymore and it can determine the obstruction of the airways. It is also very possible that an acute Bronchitis becomes chronic.
It is quite difficult to choose an appropriate treatment in chronic bronchitis. It is recommended to drink lots of liquids which are very helpful for the evacuation of the mucus. It was shown that antibiotics are not the right choice to treat Bronchitis, because the most of them are caused by viruses which do not respond to this kind of treatment. The most appropriate medication is aspirin, an anti-fever drug and steroids to open bronchial tubes and ease coughing. It is also very important that the doctor prescribes anti-tusive drugs. This kind of drugs thin the mucus and they make coughing more effective. And they also helps patients to have a quiet sleep, this because the dry coughing that characterizes the early stages of bronchitis wakes them up and do not let them sleep. So the best results are given by the oxygen therapy, bronchodilator drugs and if it is necessary lung volume reduction surgery.
The first symptoms in Bronchitis are dry cough which turns into a wet one, fever, fatigue and headaches. All this may last for few days, maximum eleven days but the coughing lasts for weeks and even months. It is very important to mention that acute Bronchitis is very contagious. If the symptoms lasts for more than six months it is recommended that the doctor makes the necessary examination to find the cause of the persistent coughing, because it can be asthma or TB. In TB it is characteristic the coughing accompanied by blood.
If the Bronchitis complicates it may cause pulmonary hypertension, chronic respiratory failure or even heart disease.
It is not very hard to avoid acute Bronchitis. It is necessary just to wash your hands frequently, get more rest and drink plenty of liquids. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses or bacteria. One can be contaminated with these agents by breathing coughing droplets from the air or by touching contaminated surfaces, by breathing polluted, by smoking or breathing cigarette smoke or other harmful smokers. It is recommended for the smokers in the early stages of chronic Bronchitis to quit smoking. This will help them to avoid complications and the treatment will give best results.