What is chronic bronchitis?
When the bronchial tubes, the breathing arteries that supply oxygen to the lungs, are inflamed, it causes bronchitis. This disease causes a phlegmy cough as well as making breathing difficult. Other symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, and a slightly raised temperature. There are two types of bronchitis, chronic and acute.
Chronic bronchitis is classed under the umbrella term COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). When the bronchi are inflamed more mucus is produced, this is what leads to breathing difficulties and a cough. Smoking is one of the most common causes, as well as breathing in polluted air, smoke, and dust for a prolonged time.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of chronic bronchitis is a cough that lasts a long time and doesn’t go away for several months. The cough is quite often a chesty cough, which is associated with wheezing and trouble breathing.
What causes it?
Cigarette smoke is the main cause of chronic bronchitis. Inhaling smoke irritates the lungs and can cause large amounts of mucus. Chronic bronchitis can also affect people who have been exposed to chemical vapours, dust, and other airborne substances.
How can it be prevented?
The best way to prevent chronic bronchitis is to never smoke or to quit smoking. The more smoke you inhale, the worse it is for your lungs. When you quit smoking, breathing will improve, as well as your cough, your lungs will begin to function better, and the chances of getting lung cancer are reduced.
Another thing that can be done is to avoid other substances that could be harmful to your health such as lacquer aerosols, spray deodorants, or spray paints. It is also advisable to avoid inhaling dust or chemical vapours. Another way to take care of your lungs is to use a mask that covers your mouth and nose when using products such as varnish, paint, or any other chemical substance with strong vapours.
What is the treatment?
As the name suggests, chronic bronchitis never completely disappears and it often intermittently returns for long periods of time. Treatment for chronic bronchitis can help relieve the symptoms but it does not cure them. The medications can help clear the airways and get rid of mucous. Oxygen therapy is also recommended in some cases, this kind of pulmonary rehabilitation can relieve symptoms and ensure a better quality of life.