Bronchitis What Is Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a disease of the respiratory system that causes inflammation in the mucous membranes, the inner lining of the airways, of the lung’s bronchial passages. Bronchitis often appears after an illness such as a cold, and people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke are more at risk for developing bronchitis.

Types of Bronchitis

Bronchitis comes in two forms: acute and chronic.

While acute bronchitis generally lasts for less than six weeks, chronic bronchitis can continue or recur for over two years. Acute bronchitis is generally caused by a virus (although it can be caused by bacteria) and usually will clear on its own if the sufferer is in otherwise good health. The cough that accompanies acute bronchitis can, however, last for a few weeks before disappearing completely.

Chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition, and is a more serious condition than acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis requires medical attention. Most often caused by smoking, this condition can also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Bronchitis Symptoms

The most common symptom of bronchitis is a cough that produces yellow, gray or green mucus. Some people, especially children, may not notice this symptom. In fact, because children generally swallow the mucus without realizing anything is abnormal, parents may not notice bronchitis until other symptoms appear.

Other common symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • congestion in the chest
  • feeling of breathlessness
  • feeling of fatigue or generally feeling unwell
  • fever or chills
  • sinus issues
  • soreness or burning in the chest
  • sore throat
  • wheezing.

Other sinus infections and illnesses can often share symptoms of bronchitis, so it may be wise to see a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment advice.

Our articles cover all aspects of bronchitis, including a detailed bronchitis overview and an explanation of how healthy lungs work. These will help you better understand bronchitis.

Bronchitis Overview

Bronchitis, a respiratory disease that often develops after a person has gotten over a cold or other illness, can last for many weeks. People who smoke or are exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke are at a higher risk of developing bronchitis.

Bronchitis has many different symptoms, which can differ between the types of bronchitis, acute and chronic. Treatment options also vary based on the type of bronchitis and the symptoms of each particular case.

Learn about bronchitis, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prognosis, types, treatment and more with our comprehensive bronchitis overview.

How Healthy Lungs Work

The lungs bring oxygen to the blood from the atmosphere and remove carbon dioxide from the blood, expelling it into the atmosphere. This process is accomplished by millions of tiny cells that form tiny air sacs with very thin walls, called alveoli.

To better understand illnesses like bronchitis, it is necessary to have a full understanding of how the lungs and the body work on a normal basis. Learn about the respiratory functions of the lungs, the non-respiratory functions of the lungs and generally how healthy lungs work.

Resources

Mayo Clinic (2007). Bronchitis. Retrieved July 18, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bronchitis/DS00031.

MedicineNet (2005). Understanding Bronchitis. Retrieved July 18, 2007, from the MedicineNet Web site: http://www.medicinenet.com/bronchitis/article.htm.