Can I be cured of chronic bronchitis?

Written by: Dr Bryan Sheinman
Published: | Updated: 19/05/2023
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Chronic bronchitis is a lung-affecting condition that occurs when the bronchial tubes become inflamed. It is mainly caused by smoking.


In our latest article, esteemed consultant pulmonologist Dr Bryan Sheinman explains in further detail exactly what chronic bronchitis is, what causes it, how it is diagnosed, as well as how it is primarily treated.



What is chronic bronchitis and what causes it?

Chronic bronchitis is an inflammatory disorder of the bronchial tree. This is mainly due to cigarette smoke, particularly in the Western hemisphere. In the third world, it can be due to inhalation of dust, fumes, interior cooking, as well as the use of biomass fuels.


Primarily though, in the Western hemisphere, it is caused by smoking. It causes a lot of disability, but the good news is that if you stop smoking, it can stop getting worse, even if it doesn’t get much better.


Why is chronic bronchitis sometimes referred to as “blue bloaters”?

We don’t use these terms anymore, as it is a very old-fashioned term. It was used to point out a clinical description of two types of chronic bronchitis, which were referred to as “pink puffers” and “blue bloaters.” However, these terms have really gone out of the window now, and we have pretty much abandoned these terms. Now, we use lung function as our determinant.


Can a person be cured of chronic bronchitis?

We don’t think in terms of cure, but rather we think in terms of control. Chronic bronchitis is best controlled by quitting smoking, prompt treatment of exacerbations with antibiotics, inhalers, steroids, regular exercise, and, if necessary, controlled oxygen therapy.


How long can you live with chronic bronchitis?

Fortunately, patients suffering from chronic bronchitis can live many years.


How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis of chronic bronchitis is almost always based on a medical history of the patient, a thorough medical examination, lung function tests, and x-rays.


How is chronic bronchitis treated?

Thankfully, chronic bronchitis can be effectively treated in a variety of different ways. The main treatment options include treatment for exacerbations, inhalers, and exercise for stable chronic bronchitis.


Dr Bryan Sheinman is a highly accomplished, experienced and skilled consultant pulmonologist who specialises in chronic bronchitis. Check out his Top Doctors profile today to book a consultation with him. 

By Dr Bryan Sheinman
Pulmonology & respiratory medicine

Dr Bryan Sheinman is a highly dedicated, experienced and leading Consultant Chest Physician with an interest in general medicine. He has advanced expertise in all aspects of chest conditions. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, persistent cough, asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS).

Throughout his career, Dr Sheinman has many achievements. With a career spanning over 40 years, he has garnered a wealth of advanced knowledge and experience. This has lead him to become the Vice Chairman of the Chest Unit at Wellington Hospital and was a founder member of the British Thoracic Society Specialist Advisory Group and continues as a member. Furthermore, he was until recently the Lead Clinician for Asthma and Allergies at the North Middlesex Hospital and he has been appointed to the British Thoracic Society Specialist Advisory Group on Cough.

As Lead Clinician for Bronchoscopy at the North Middlesex Hospital, he enabled patients to receive non-operative diagnoses by introducing and setting up the EBUS ultrasound-assisted transbronchial node aspiration (EBUS-TBNA). 

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