What Is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the walls of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs. This condition can be either acute or chronic.
Before taking a look at the most common symptoms of Bronchitis, here is a bit of information about the disease for better understanding (to go to the Symptoms you can just click next).
The acute form of the disease, also called a chest cold, usually develops after a lung infection, after which the bronchi become irritated and swollen. Acute bronchitis usually improves within a few weeks without lasting effects, as it is a temporary condition. However, it can be contagious because it is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Chronic bronchitis is a more serious condition. Its most characteristic feature is a productive (wet) cough that lasts for at least three months, with recurring bouts occurring for at least two years in a row. Chronic bronchitis is not contagious, unless there is a secondary infection, which can appear pretty easily due to the long-term irritation of the airways.
Severity-wise, bronchitis falls somewhere between the common cold and pneumonia.
How Likely Am I To Be Affected?
Acute bronchitis is one of the most common types of lung infection among people of all ages. About 5% of adults have an episode of acute bronchitis every year. You are more likely to get it during fall or winter, and following a cold or a flu, like most viral diseases of the respiratory tract. A history of smoking, living in a polluted place, asthma and allergies make it much more likely for an individual to encounter acute bronchitis. The risk of developing bronchitis also increases in cases of work with particular lung irritants, such as chemical fumes, grains or textiles. Pollen and perfume may also trigger inflammation of the airways. Older adults, infants and younger children are more prone to infection as they have weaker and more vulnerable immune systems.
Chronic bronchitis is also widespread, affecting approximately 10 million people in the United States, the majority of which are between 44 and 65 years of age. Women are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis than men. People who have a family history of lung disease, a smoking habit or live with a smoker are at higher risk, as tobacco smoking is actually the main cause of chronic bronchitis.
Bronchitis is a very common medical condition that affects a wide range of age groups, so it is best to be aware of it. Luckily, the symptoms are distinct enough and are hard to miss. Here’s a look at the most common signs of bronchitis: