Bronchitis symptoms and signs
The increasing awareness of health and the need to be proactive about taking care of one’s health has made us stand up and take note of the countless problems and diseases that surround us all the time. The air we breathe today is highly polluted and this is giving way to many health problems. Our lungs are at the core of our respiratory system that starts with our nose. Bronchi are the smallest component of our lungs, responsible for helping clean the blood by supplying oxygen to all parts of our lungs. A person is said to suffer from Bronchitis when the bronchi swell up or get inflamed on the inside which causes problem for a person to breathe normally.
Types, causes and symptoms of Bronchitis
There are two conditions of Bronchitis depending on the situation of the inflammation in the bronchi.
Acute Bronchitis: This is a situation where one faces the problem of inflammation from anywhere between a few days to a few weeks, usually about 3 weeks. In this case, the person usually has symptoms that include coughing and production of mucus as sputum. One might also have a little chest pain.
- Cause: Acute bronchitis is caused by a virus that affects the bronchi’s epithelium. This causes the bronchi to swell and leads to excessive secretion of mucus to combat the viral infection. The two most common viruses that cause acute bronchitis are rhinoviruses and coronaviruses.
- Symptoms of Acute bronchitis: There are different symptoms to establish the existence of acute bronchitis. These include, but are not limited to, fatigue due to lack of proper supply of oxygen in the body, shortness of breath, congestion in the nose and chest area, fever with lower temperatures, pleurisy, and a runny nose as the body tries to get rid of the swelling substance in the lungs.
Chronic Bronchitis: This is a situation where a person could suffer from extreme coughing along with production of sputum and mucus for anywhere between 3 months to two years without the proper diagnosis of an underlying reason. It can be a result of bacterial infection as well, in which case it can be solved by having antibiotics.
- Cause: Chronic Bronchitis is caused due to excessive smoking or by consumption and use of any other form of tobacco. Excessive air pollution levels, or working in industries, like thread mills, asbestos mining, etc. where lungs are exposed to extreme substances causes chronic bronchitis. Even people who stay in close proximity to mining places or industries that by products are air borne and hazardous for the lungs could develop cases of chronic bronchitis.
- Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis: Much like acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis is characterized by shortness of breath and problem in breathing especially at high altitudes, coughing and wheezing. Person might also have excessive sputum production which is more when person wakes up or after periods of inactivity and this might be accompanied by blood in sputum. There is highly increased level of chest discomfort and pain in the person suffering from Chronic bronchitis.
Treatment and cure
While simple precautions in high pollution areas like air masks can help, giving up smoking is another easy way to combat the problem and reduce chances of its occurrence. Alternatively, a person should always visit a doctor if the cough persists for any time more than two weeks as it could be an indicator of an underlying problem. It is important to consult a doctor as it is important to establish the disease before one takes any kind of medication. In some cases, people take medicines on their own and this can prove to be fatal. Always visit your doctor for a check up, consultation and treatment to get better and avoid any kind of self medication.