Bronchitis: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments


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Bronchitis simply refers to inflammation or swelling of the tiny tubes that carry air from the upper respiratory tract (from the windpipe) down to the lungs and also carries air from the lungs back to the windpipe. These tubes are called the bronchial tubes.


Normally, the wall of the bronchial tubes are usually laced and lined with mucus and any inflammation or swelling would cause severe problems to the passage of air to and fro the lungs.

When a person has bronchitis, the passage of air is impaired and partially stopped by the severe swelling of the bronchial tube walls. There are so many causes and factors that can cause bronchitis or cause an underlying sickness to influence the presence of bronchitis.

When the bronchial tubes are inflamed, the passage of air to the lungs becomes reduced thereby no adequate air gets into the lungs. This can cause severe problems to the body and generally hamper the patient’s day to day activities. There are two basic forms in which bronchitis can present itself and they include

Acute bronchitis

Mostly acute bronchitis usually starts as a cough, but it usually doesn’t go away after medication. Once the cough begins to stay for long (more than 5 days) then the patient just might be suffering from acute bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis usually is called chest cold and it most times, the condition improves with medication within a duration of days to weeks, but nit usually has no lasting devastating effects.

Acute bronchitis is a rapid response to an invasion of a virus affecting the upper respiratory tract. Viruses usually are the culprits responsible for acute bronchitis although sometimes it can be due to bacteria as well but for the majority, viruses are the causes of acute bronchitis.

Some diseases also can have acute bronchitis as one of their symptoms. Diseases such as measles and whooping cough have acute bronchitis as one of their secondary symptoms. The viruses responsible for acute bronchitis are mostly spread through air particles.

This means that when someone suffering from acute bronchitis coughs and doesn’t close his or he mouth, the virus can be spread through the air particles to another uninfected person.

Acute bronchitis mostly begins as a dry cough but then over the days of infection, the cough then begins to bring out mucus yellowish or sometimes greenish in color. Associated with acute bronchitis is whooping cough and likewise chest pain.

Acute bronchitis is usually always very common but very treatable with the right and proper dosage of medication. Acute bronchitis is always experienced mostly during winter and it is usually developed or gotten as a result of common cold or because of the flu.

Another type of acute bronchitis is the acute irritative bronchitis. This is a special kind of acute bronchitis because this type of acute bronchitis is not caused due to flu or the common cold. It is caused due to irritation from smoke, dust and inhaling fumes from cars.

Poor nutrition too can be a cause factor. This is because poor nutrition can lead to a weekend immune system which can make a person become prone to so many diseases including the ACUTE BRONCHITIS.

Symptoms of acute bronchitis includes running nose, chills and shivering, slight fever, tiredness and fatigue, muscular aches, slight chest pain, sometimes slight difficulty breathing and sometimes wheezing.

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is one of the common types of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). This occurs as a result of the excessive swelling of the bronchus but the symptoms last much longer than acute bronchitis. Unlike the fact that acute bronchitis is caused due to the flu or cold, the major cause of chronic bronchitis is due to smoking.

When a person is suffering from chronic bronchitis, the person will experience a severe swelling in his/her respiratory tract especially the upper respiratory tract such as the trachea otherwise known as the wind pipe. It likewise affects the lower respiratory tracts such as the bronchioles and also the bronchi.

Chronic bronchitis is a very critical condition which is caused by constant inflammation of the internal lining of the bronchi. After this constant inflammation, fluid mixed with numerous amount of mucus will begin to gather and build up in the airways thereby occupying the space where air is supposed to pass through.

Due to this build up, air won’t be able to pass through freely largely due to the obstruction, air won’t be able to reach the lungs freely. Over a period of time, the blockage will keep worsening making breathing become very difficult and hence causing labored breathing and short breathes.

You may think that more men have chronic bronchitis compared to the women. But it is not true. Compared to men, women develop chronic bronchitis more.

This is due to the fact that their lungs are smaller than that of the men and also because of the fact that the female reproductive hormone named estrogen is a major contributor in the development of lung cancer and majority of people who develop chronic bronchitis also develop emphysema later in life. A person may have chronic bronchitis for as long as two years a roll.

There are some symptoms that one may notice while having chronic bronchitis and they include fatigue, sore throats, shortness of breath and labored breathing, aches felt in the muscle, headaches, congestion in the nasal cavity (nose), and severe coughing leading to yellowish or greenish mucus-filled sputum production.

When there is failure to treat these symptoms, there is a tendency that they may worsen thereby leading to severe coughing leading to discomfort and severe pains in the chest region, cyanosis (which is a bluish discoloration of the body’s extremities due to lack of adequate oxygen in the body).

There are other causes of chronic bronchitis asides from smoking which contribute in minority to these diseases. They include: gastric reflux, dust, underlying ailments such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, congestive heart failure, acquired dilation of the bronchioles etc. Industrial pollutants, and solvents inhaled can cause an impairment in the respiratory tract thereby causing chronic bronchitis.

Although chronic bronchitis is a very infectious disease. The best way of avoiding chronic bronchitis is to stop smoking. In most cases, acute bronchitis doesn’t take long before they resolve themselves either without drugs or sometimes, with the use of drugs.

The treatment for chronic bronchitis depends on the kind of symptoms exhibited. So, if you have a cough for more than two weeks which prevents you from sleeping or disturbs you from sleeping, in its sputum, you discover traces of green or yellow coloration or blood, sometimes you discover that you wheeze or whistle involuntarily after taking in breath please it’s time to see your doctor.


This article is for informational/educational purposes only. Healthtian does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, read more.

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