Bronchitis – an inflammation of the bronchi. The bronchi are part of the human respiratory system and are tubes that connect the windpipe with tissue of the lungs. The trachea is associated with the two main bronchi, each of which, in turn, divides many times to form a network of pipes and tubes (bronchi and bronchioles) through which the air when breathing gets into the lung tissue. At the end of such a small tube is placed a microscopic sac, called alveoli, in this bag of oxygen from the air into the blood stream. When the bronchi become inflamed or bronchitis produce too much mucus in the lumen of the bronchus.
Inflammation is usually caused by viruses (the same as those that cause acute respiratory diseases, flu) or a secondary bacterial infection (infectious bronchitis). However, bronchitis may also occur by inhalation of substances that irritate the lungs, such as various toxic chemicals, dust, ammonia (used in various cleaning agents), and smoke. People with other lung diseases such as asthma, are often ill with bronchitis, as well as people suffering from chronic sinusitis.
Bronchitis usually is mild and usually does not cause long-term violations of disability, but in the elderly, smokers, or patients suffering from chronic heart and lung disease, may become a serious problem.
Symptoms of bronchitis
Symptoms of acute bronchitis
Infectious Bronchitis usually occurs in winter. Typically, it begins with symptoms resembling the common cold, especially fatigue and sore throat, then a cough. At the beginning of a dry cough often, but later it becomes wet and clears his throat white, yellow or greenish sputum. In more serious cases there may be a rise in temperature.
If symptoms persist, and even more worse, your doctor may send you for x-ray of the chest to make sure there is no inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia), which can be a serious complication of bronchitis.
Symptoms of chronic bronchitis
The term “chronic bronchitis”, as opposed to acute bronchitis, doctors used to describe long-flowing of the disease, not passing sometimes within a few months. Cough and sputum production may be repeated every year and every subsequent time last longer. Chronic bronchitis often occurs with prolonged inhalation of various irritating substances such as cigarette smoke.
The main difference between the processes in the lung during acute and chronic bronchitis is that in chronic bronchitis bronchial mucosa produces more phlegm, which causes coughing, while in infectious bronchitis cough occurs predominantly due to inflammation of the airways. One of the most common causes of chronic bronchitis is smoking permanently.
Quite often, prolonged exposure to irritants, leading to progressive deterioration, and inflammation or scarring of the small airways leading to difficulty breathing. In this case, may develop emphysema, especially when these irritants cause the destruction of the alveoli. This leads to the fact that the patient can not breathe in any physical effort. Bronchitis and emphysema are found as separate diseases, but more often accompany each other.
What you can do?
If you smoke, it is best to avoid smoking, at least until then, until it is noticeable relief, but rather to a full recovery. However, you must understand that continued smoking increases the risk of developing chronic bronchitis and other serious illnesses.
What can a doctor?
Bronchitis is quite a serious disease. Correct diagnosis and adequate therapy may appoint a doctor.
If you have acute bronchitis, your doctor may recommend in bed, drink plenty of fluids, and are likely to prescribe painkillers and antipyretics (paracetamol).
If the cough is allocated yellow or greenish mucus or body temperature is very high and did not decrease, then this is probably a bacterial bronchitis. In this case, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, which are rapidly cope with the infection. In the case of chronic bronchitis, the doctor may give you some advice. The doctor likely will recommend to quit smoking because it significantly slows the progression of the disease and can reduce shortness of breath.
He may prescribe bronchodilators (bronchodilators). These drugs widen the airways and ease breathing. They are often administered in the form of inhalation (using different instruments, inhalers). At the time of aggravation sometimes prescribe corticosteroids and antibiotics. In severe cases with frequent exacerbations or use of corticosteroids may be permanent.
Prevention of bronchitis
Annual influenza vaccination reduces the likelihood of influenza in the autumn-winter period, and therefore can be recommended for patients with chronic bronchitis.
Vaccination against pneumococcal disease is also recommended for patients with chronic bronchitis.