What you need to know about chronic bronchitis

Everyday, millions of individuals suffer from chronic bronchitis worldwide no matter what race, gender and economic background they have. The American Lung Association reported in 2004 that around 9 million people in the United States were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. It is but common for the disease to manifest among individuals who are 45 years and older. As compared to acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis is irreversible and symptoms can only be temporarily alleviated by remedies. However, the disease itself heal on its own since full blown chronic bronchitis is a result of prolonged damage to the air passageway.

In fact, Chronic bronchitis is classified among lung diseases as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ).

Typically, chronic bronchitis is caused by tobacco smoking including second hand smoke. It is also possible that Pneumoconiosis and inhalation of fumes on long term basis can also cause chronic bronchitis according to Medline Plus. According to doctors, chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs daily accompanied by sputum production. However, the cough persists for at least three months, two years in a row. Thus, people with chronic bronchitis find it hard to dismiss the symptoms since having cough for a long period of time can really be inconvenient and unpleasant. The most affected area are the bronchi –large air tubes coming from the trachea to the lungs which is responsible for conveying air. When chronic bronchitis sets in, the bronchi becomes inflamed and swollen with a lot of mucus production. This can make the air passage difficult and cause the hair-like appendages known as cilia shed and become useless. If this occurs, the cilia cannot efficiently transport mucus anymore thus worsening the constriction of air passageways.

Symptoms of chronic bronchitis exhibit easily which includes persistent cough for at least three months, wheezing, chest pain due to prolonged coughing, blood-tinged sputum, wheezing and difficulty in breathing. As soon as such symptoms of chronic bronchitis have surfaced, it is advisable to see doctor immediately. Usually, physical examination would be required to check breathing capacity. Tests like Pulmonary Function Test, chest x-ray, sputum sample and blood test and mucosal hypersecretion would be required to the patient. The test results can aid the doctor in administering excellent treatment for chronic bronchitis. Thus, early detection of chronic bronchitis symptoms is critical to prevent the worsening of the disease.