airways through which air flows in the lungs are called
bronchi. When parts of the walls of the bronchi become
inflamed and swollen a condition develops called bronchitis.
This inflammation causes an increase in mucus production
which narrows the airway making breathing difficult.
are the symptoms of bronchitis?
Depending on the underlying cause of bronchitis the symptoms
will vary. Bronchitis due to an infection present symptoms
-Aches in the back and muscles
-Shortness of breath
Infections or irritating substances can cause bronchitis.
Smokers and people with a chronic lung disease tend to have
repeated episodes of bronchitis. Other causes are people with
chronic sinus infections or allergies and children with enlarged
tonsils or adenoids.
is a diagnosis of bronchitis made?
An important part of the diagnosis of bronchitis is the exclusion
of other causes of symptoms. Other diseases such as asthma,
COPD, or even heart conditions may give symptoms similar to
bronchitis. Your physician will take a medical history and
perform a physical examination including listening to the
lungs. Additional testing may include:
are the treatment options for bronchitis?
-Antibiotics may be prescribed for bronchitis that is bacterial
-Short term use of bronchodilators may be used to help open
up the airways
-Cool mist humidifiers can help the wheezing and shortness
-Cough medicines should be used cautiously. If the cough produces
a lot of sputum, it is important to clear the mucus from the
lungs rather than suppress the cough.
-Corticosteroid inhalers help reduce inflammation and make
the airways less reactive.
-Over the counter pain relievers to help reduce the fever
and control pain.