Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchi which carry air into the lungs. Leading to a reduction in the amount of oxygen and air coming into the lungs due to heavy mucus that forms in the airways. Inflammation can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, smoking and inhalation of contaminated particles in the air (chemical or inhaled irritants).
They differ in both acute and chronic bronchitis:
Acute is very common and often develop from colds and other respiratory infections. The condition usually improves within a few days, although the cough may last for weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is a serious condition, it is a constant irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchi and requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is most common in people who smoke and together with emphysema, known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In both acute and chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
production of thick mucus, which can be white, gray or yellow-green color, and rarely streaked with blood
shortness of breath
In case of acute bronchitis, the cough may linger for several weeks after the passage of inflammation. In chronic bronchitis, the cough lasts at least three months, and recurring seizures occur at least two consecutive years. If it comes to chronic bronchitis, you will likely have periods when your signs and symptoms are getting worse.
When to see a doctor:
When the cough does not stop for more than three weeks
Because coughing can not sleep
You have a high fever
Coughing up mucus, which can be colorless or streaked with blood
When you have difficulty breathing
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus, usually the same viruses that cause colds and flu. Antibiotics do not kill viruses, so antibiotics are not useful in most cases related to bronchitis.
The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking cigarettes. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or in the workplace, also increase the risk.
Factors that increase the risk are:
Cigarette smoke - people who are smokers or living with smokers are at high risk for acute and chronic bronchitis.
Weak immunity - can result from other acute diseases, such as common cold or a chronic condition. The elderly, infants and young children are more susceptible to an infection.
Exposure to certain irritants at work - the risk of developing bronchitis is increased if you are exposed to chemical fumes, dust, cigarette smoke ...
Gastric reflux - repeated seizures of severe heartburn can irritate the throat and increase the risk of developing bronchitis.
Although an episode of bronchitis usually is not cause for concern, it can lead to pneumonia in some people. Repeated attacks of bronchitis may indicate the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Tests and diagnosis
During the first few days, it can be difficult to distinguish the signs and symptoms of bronchitis, colds. An X-ray, blood tests and sputum are important in establishing a diagnosis.
In some cases, the doctor may suggest:
X-ray of the lungs - X-ray will show the cause of cough and show that if you have pneumonia. This is particularly important especially if you are used to smoke or are a smoker. As an examination for the lungs, alongside X-ray examination, in the radiological method are significant developments like the lung CT, which, thanks to advanced technology enables highly reliable overview of the tiniest details in the lungs and other organs in the chest, with a relatively acceptable dose of radiation.
Analysis of the sputum from the lungs - can show that you have whooping cough or another disease that can be cured with antibiotics.
Examination of lung function - This test checks for signs of asthma or emphysema. Lung function test shows the extent to which normal lung functions ae distrupted. It consists of measuring the quantity of air in the lungs during normal breathing, maximum inhale and exhale maximum. The patient is asked to take a deep breath, and then exhaled as strongly as possible in the tube that is connected to a small device, which is called a spirometer. The device measures the amount of air a person can exhale and the speed at which it breathes. Test results can also help to establish another medical condition, such as asthma or weakened heart function.
Treatments and medications
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications, including:
Antibiotics - bronchitis usually occurs due to viral infection for which antibiotics are not effective. However, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is suspected.
Cough medicine - is best not to suppress a cough that produces mucus because it helps remove irritants from the lungs and the airways.
Other medicines - if you have allergies, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in the lungs.
If you are suffering from chronic bronchitis, you can benefit from a pulmonary rehabilitation - program of breathing exercises in which your therapist teaches you to breathe easier. The aim of pulmonary rehabilitation is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in people with chronic lung diseases. The rehabilitation process includes a program of physical therapy, education about the disease and advice on the nutrition.
Adhere to the following measures:
Avoid irritanting the lungs
Do not smoke
Wear a mask when the air is polluted or if you are exposed to irritants such as paints or when cleaning the household, the workplace
Use a humidifier - warm, moist air helps alleviate cough and loosens mucus in the airways. However, it should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's recommendations to prevent growth of bacteria and fungi in the water tank.
Consider wearing a facemask - if cold air worsens the cough and causes difficulty breathing, wear a face mask against the cold air before going out.
To reduce the risk of bronchitis, follow these instructions:
Avoid cigarette smoke - cigarette smoke increases the risk of chronic bronchitis.
Vaccination - Many cases of acute bronchitis are the result of the flu virus. Annual influenza vaccination can help protect against the flu. Also, you might consider vaccination which protects against some types of pneumonia.
Wash your hands - to reduce the risk of viral infection, wash your hands frequently.
Wear a surgical mask - if you have COPD, you might also consider wearing face masks.
For colds, sore throat, cough, bronchitis and flu various herbal preparations are the best help. Teas and herbal tinctures facilitate and help to restore the body to its normal, healthy state. Antiparasitic program tincture and tincture of mullein, thyme, plantain, lungwort have greatly easing and alleviating results from accumulation of mucus in the bronchi and help in acute and chronic cough. Antiparasitic program helps with respiratory tract infections while mullein is best natural remedy for inflammation of the airways, hoarseness, cough, catarrh of the bronchi, bronchitis. Thyme calms cough, has a strong disinfecting property when it comes to excessive mucus. Plantain is an excellent for cough and lung and bronchial diseases and lungwort in acute and chronic inflammation of the bronchi, emphysema, inflammation of the trachea and throat, wheezing, all Cathars airways and cough with thick sputum. Recommendations regarding teas are black teas that thins the mucus, alleviating cough, helps with asthma, bronchitis, cough, throat infection, pulmonary emphysema, Iceland moss used in the treatment of colds and inflammations: chest pain, pulmonary convulsive coughing and catarrh, because it cleanses and strengthens the lungs. Beneficial effects on the respiratory system have mint and lungwort tea.
For problems with bronchitis you should also turn towards foods that strengthen your immune system.
Some recommended vitamins A, B, C and E and the minerals zinc and selenium. Consume fish, broccoli, olive oil, cinnamon, ginger, green tea, cabbage, honey, red and white onions, apples, paprika, turmeric and coconut. It is also recommended avoiding foods that stimulate mucus like milk, refined starch and processed foods. Studies have found that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of developing chronic bronchitis.
Eat hot peppers and chillies and dishes seasoned with hot peppers as hot food that thins mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up.
Drink plenty of water, at least eight large glasses per day, because that way dilute the mucus and facilitates its expectoration.