Bronchitis is the most researched disease of recent times. The bronchi are large and medium-width airways that carry the air we breathe from outside to the vesicles called alveoli where the blood is oxygenated. Bronchitis is the inflammation of these bronchi due to several factors. During this inflammation, the layer called the mucosa covering the bronchi from the inside becomes thick by edema. The thickened layer produces more of the viscous fluid called mucus; As a result, the air cannot easily reach the alveoli.
There are two types of bronchitis:
In general, it occurs as a result of the thickening of the bronchial walls and increased mucus production due to infections caused by microbes such as viruses or bacteria or various allergies. It heals when the cause infection is treated or when the substance causing the allergy is removed from the environment.
In chronic bronchitis, which occurs as a result of smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), thickening of the bronchial walls and increased mucus production are also involved. However, chronic bronchitis cannot heal as quickly as acute bronchitis.
Viruses are the cause of most acute bronchitis. Viruses such as influenza A and B, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and coronavirus, adenovirus, rhinovirus are known to cause acute bronchitis.
As the cause of some acute bronchitis; Mycoplasma type bacteria, Chlamydia pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumonia, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Haemophilus influenza are shown.
At the same time, exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, and some chemical vapors and fumes that can cause irritation and damage to the bronchi and various allergies can also cause acute bronchitis.
The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. Chronic disease is detected in almost all smokers. Air pollution, dust, or toxic gases in the environment or workplace can also cause chronic bronchitis when exposed for a long time.
Symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis include a phlegmatic, deep cough with shortness of breath and wheezing.
In addition to these, acute bronchitis can show some symptoms such as:
- Yellow or green phlegm
- Other findings that may be caused by infections such as nasal congestion, sore throat, headache
- In chronic bronchitis, unlike acute bronchitis;
- Frequent severe lung infections
- Cyanosis (bluish color of the skin, especially around the mouth, eyes, and nails) due to low oxygen levels
- Constant tiredness
- Symptoms such as shortness of breath that develop when exercising or moving may be present.
However, chronic bronchitis can also be defined as a sputum cough for at least two years, three months a year.
Your doctor will listen to your medical history and perform a physical exam based on your symptoms and complaints.
Acute bronchitis is usually defined by a phlegmatic cough that begins after a severe upper respiratory tract infection. Chronic disease is defined as a prolonged and persistent cough even though there is no infection.
After the other causes of long-term cough are eliminated by physical examination and various examinations, disease can be diagnosed and treatment can be started. Your doctor may order the following tests:
It provides an evaluation in terms of infection and anemia by looking at your blood values.
Bacteria or other features that may be present in sputum are determined.
This test measures how narrow the bronchial tubes are, the amount and speed of air inhaled. It provides information about the presence of accompanying diseases such as COPD and asthma.
Arterial Blood Gas
This blood test checks the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood and measures the acidity of the blood. It is used to examine the severity of disease and the condition of diseases such as COPD / emphysema in patients deemed necessary.
It is the test used to show pneumonia (pneumonia) or other obstructions in the airway.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
It is a radiological examination used to reveal diseases such as atelectasis and mass in patients with risk factors, especially by revealing the obstructions that may be found in the airways with sharper images.
Antibiotic use may be appropriate in disease found to be bacterial. Since some of the acute disease is caused by viruses, it can recover without the need for any antibiotics. However, some treatments can still be used to control the symptoms and prevent the disease from progressing.
These treatments generally contain drugs that relax the bronchi and prevent mucus from thickening. In addition, in acute disease, consuming plenty of water and avoiding substances that cause allergies or irritate the bronchi may be part of the treatment.
In some cases, symptoms of disease can take much longer. If symptoms persist for more than three months, it can be described as “chronic bronchitis”. Antibiotic therapy can be used in acute attacks in chronic disease patients and in elderly patients with additional disease and risk factors.
If you are having problems with your health, you should go to the doctor or call 911. If you want to know more about these, you should follow U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.