Chronic bronchitis is where you have long term symptoms of bronchitis, and is defined as a daily productive cough that lasts for three months of the year, for at least two years in a row.
Bronchitis is an infection or inflammation of the bronchi, which are the largest airways of the lungs. These airways have a protective mechanism built into them where they produce mucus, which traps anything that is not welcome in the airways and could be harmful to the lungs. It can then be coughed up and removed from the body.
When someone has bronchitis, something has irritated the airways, causing increased production of mucus. This leads to the body trying to get rid of the mucus, and causes a productive cough.
Symptoms can vary from person to person but here are the most common symptoms of chronic bronchitis:
Those suffering with chronic bronchitis usually have a cough that produces phlegm for several years before they start to struggle with breathlessness.
Chronic bronchitis can also lead to:
Other less common symptoms of chronic bronchitis can include:
The symptoms of chronic bronchitis can appear similar to other lung conditions or health problems so it’s best to speak to your doctor.
It is called as chronic bronchitis if:
These tests are used to measure how easily air can move in and and out of your lungs. Special machines that you breathe into are usually used that you breathe into. They can include:
Spirometry is a simple test carried out using a spirometer to help diagnose and monitor certain lung conditions. A small machine is attached by a cable to a mouthpiece to measure how much air you can breathe out in a signal forced breath. It’s a common pulmonary function tests and can be used to:
#### Chest X-ray:
This test makes pictures of your lungs using radiation to rule out other illnesses that can impact your breathing. It also looks at your internal tissues, bones, and organs.
X-rays and computer technology (CT) scans are combined to create images of the body. CT scans are able to present highly accurate images of different parts of the body. CT scans provide more detail than an X-ray when looking at bones, muscles and internal organs.
This test is done using an oximeter which is a small machine used to calculate how much oxygen is in your blood. A compact sensor is clipped or taped to one of your fingers or toes to get a reading and it’s completely painless. This will give a good indication of how much oxygen is entering the blood circulationand reoxigenation occuring.
This test looks at how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is present in your blood while also calculating the acidity of your blood.
Chronic bronchitis cannot be cured but there are different treatments that can make it easier to help you deal with your symptoms.
Chronic bronchitis is one of two conditions alongside emphysema that make up chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These are long-term lung conditions that require lifelong management and treatment that could include:
Chronic bronchitis itself is not contagious, except if a viral or bacterial infection has caused a flare-up, this be contagious. If it is caused by a virus, you can be contagious for up to a week. If it’s a bacterial infection and you start a treatment of antibiotics, you should stop being contagious soon after starting treatment.
Bronchitis brought on by other causes are not contagious.
If you have any worrying symptoms that you think could be chronic bronchitis, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fever or feeling severely unwell then you should seek urgent medical advice.
You should book a routine appointment with your doctor. They may recommend tests that look at your lungs to determine if it is chronic bronchitis and to rule out other causes for your symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, or your symptoms are similar, you should not try self-treatment. Your first step should be seeing your doctor, as your mainstay of treatment should be from prescription medications.
Here’s some helpful tips to get the most out of your visit to your doctor:
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may still be able to work depending on the type of job you do. It may impact your ability to perform your usual work routines and make things more difficult. Your doctor will be able to advise you on what type of tasks you are fit to perform.
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