Chronic bronchitis is a long term problem occurring from inflammation of bronchi, which results to excessive formation of mucous blocking the airflow into the respiratory system. To be classified chronic bronchitis certain fixed criteria have to be met these are:
-For two years consecutively cough with expectoration for minimum of a time frame exceeding three months.
-Other lung pathologies must have been carefully examined.
The most common problem that a person is affected with is the shortness of breath so much so that it affects day to day activities.
One of the commonest factors leading to chronic bronchitis is smoking, and smokers have a high incidence of the same. In the incipient stages of the disease, the patient is troubled by morning cough, but as the pathology of the disease manifests towards long term is afflicted with continued bouts of cough with expectoration of mucus. This occurrence in layman terms] is known as smokers cough.
In the early periods of the disease the broader air passages are affected, but finally even the smaller air passages are affected. As the chronic bronchitis [progresses this stage the patient’s VP ratio (ventilation perfusion ratio) balance is affected i.e the balance between the air breathed in and air breathed out. The results of this abnormal VP ratio lead to various conditions like less amount of dissolved oxygen in blood or hypoxemia leading to enhanced complications like increased effort of breathing which if not checked eventually leads to cor pulmonale.
When compared to acute bronchitis chronic bronchitis as the name points towards is a grave condition, the patients suffering from acute bronchitis managed with antihistamines and antibiotics but the same holds true for chronic bronchitis because of enhanced susceptibility of opportunistic bacterial and fungal infections.
Hence the patients suffering from chronic bronchitis are warned to take care of themselves and report the minutest of problems and get admitted into the intensive care units of hospitals till the condition improves.
As the disease advances there is decreased ciliary movement hence the difficulty in coughing out the mucous, this coupled with inflammation of bronchi leads to decreased protection against air borne and droplet germs.
Chronic bronchitis is a difficult disease often occurring in tandem with other respiratory ailments like emphysema and asthma. And in advanced stages of chronic bronchitis coupled with emphysema there is an overall reduction in the dead space volume and the condition may lead to blue bloaters in which the overall skin has a bluish tinge or cyanosis for want of oxygen.
Chronic bronchitis as a respiratory condition grows slowly but unfortunately it has no cure and the only treatments are aimed in towards relieving of presenting symptoms.