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Acute Bronchitis & Chronic Bronchitis

What is the difference between the two?

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is defined as excessive mucus secretion in the bronchi and a chronic or recurrent mucus-producing cough that lasts three or more months and recurs year after year. In diagnosing chronic bronchitis, it is important to rule out heart disease, lung infections, cancer and other disorders that may produce bronchitis-like symptoms.

Chronic bronchitis may result from a series of attacks of acute bronchitis, or it may evolve gradually because of heavy smoking or the inhalation of air contaminated with other pollutants in the environment.

When the so-called smoker's cough is constant rather than occasional, the likelihood exists that the mucus-producing layer of the bronchial lining has thickened, narrowing the airways to the point where breathing becomes increasingly difficult.

With the immobilization of the cilia that sweep the air clean of foreign irritants, the bronchial passages become more vulnerable to further infection and the spread of tissue damage.

Patients with chronic cough, but no history of recent upper respiratory infections should be evaluated for other possible causes of cough such as postnasal drip, asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux.

Acute Bronchitis

This is one of the most common disorders seen in clinical practice. Bronchitis is generally caused by a virus, and does not respond to antibiotic therapy. Unfortunately, seventy percent of the time, the diagnosis usually leads to a prescription for antibiotics.

This diagnosis is one of the leading causes of antibiotic abuse. Bronchitis often evolves from a severe cold. This disorder may also follow or accompany the flu, or it may begin without having had an infection.

Bronchitis - an inflammation of the bronchial tubes; may be caused by smoking, air pollution and viral or bacterial infections. Complications of a cold or flu may lead to acute bronchitis, which can be treated with over the counter cold remedies and by drinking plenty of fluids.

How can It be treated ?

Suffering from a series of acute bronchitis attacks, smoking heavily or inhaling contaminated air for prolonged periods may result in chronic bronchitis. Since chronic bronchitis can be serious, it should receive professional medical attention, no matter what its underlying cause.

There is no doubt that cigarette smoking is the chief cause of chronic bronchitis, and recent studies indicate that smoking marijuana causes similar damage. Unless some other factor can be isolated as the irritant that produces the symptoms, the first step in dealing with chronic bronchitis is to stop smoking.

To alleviate any symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications that will both open up obstructed bronchial airways and thin obstructive mucus so that it can be coughed up more easily. A steam vaporizer near the bed can also be helpful in easing chest congestion at night.

Meanwhile, the primary cause of bronchitis is bacterial infections, but asthmatic bronchitis is thought to be activated by tiny specks that break through the safety walls made of cilia of the bronchial tubes.

Asthmatic bronchitis also involves congestion of the respiratory tract. Bronchial tubes produce mucus under normal circumstances, this mucus covers the trachea, lungs and other organs in the respiratory system.

Nonetheless, in the existence of irritants, an overproduction of mucus occurs, which consequently obstructs the airways.

Continuous mucoid obstruction of the respiratory tract is fairly widespread among asthmatic bronchitis patients.

General symptoms of asthmatic bronchitis includes dyspnoea or difficulty of breathing and shortness of breath, cough, chest discomforts, wheezing that lasts for several weeks, fatigue or general malaise, pain, weight loss, a general feeling of soreness, and high risk of susceptibility to infections.

Although these are also observed among common asthmatic patients, individuals suffering from asthmatic bronchitis have symptoms that are more profound.

Sufferers are advised to steer clear from irritants like dust, pollen, smoke, chemicals, and alcohol fumes. They are also advised to avoid bacterial infection, thus they should avoid crowds as much as possible. If it is unavoidable, patients are obliged to wear masks to cover their nose and mouth to prevent bacteria from entering the respiratory tract.

Of course, if an infection develops, it is important to seek medical attention and begin a course of treatment with antibiotics, if the infection is bacterial. If it is viral, there is not much that can be done except to make the patient comfortable and allow the infection to run its course. There are no antibiotics which can treat a virus.

By following these techniques, it is possible to make the pain and respiratory difficulties of Asthmatic Bronchitis tolerable. Consulting your physician as soon as a problem develops is wise, and likewise, keeping him/her informed of your progress is important too.

Getting plenty of rest helps the body to expend its energy in fighting off the possible infection, rather than doing other work which might worsen the condition.

Submitted by:

Bobby Ryatt

Bobby Ryatt: For more information and a comprehensive guide, please refer to my Dealing with Bronchitis guide at. http://www.beyantryatt.com/bronchitis/. Also for more resources you can visit http://www.bronchitisguide.com for more on the subject.




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