In its simplest definition, bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi, the branches of the trachea, which conducts air into the lungs. It is one of the diseases that most often afflicts the respiratory system. There are two basic types of bronchitis: acute bronchitis and chronic.
Each of them has its own unique peculiarities and treatments. Acute bronchitis is a diffuse inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchial tree and is characterized by increased bronchial secretion with severe (and not so severe) cough, accompanied with the release of mucus (but not necessarily).
Chronic bronchitis implies the presence of other diseases of airways, lungs, bronchi, which in essence cause the main symptom of this bronchi disease, typical cough with mucus. It may last for several months per year. Chronic bronchitis is a rather well-spread occurrence in the last couple of decades. The most critical age, according to statistics, for acquiring this respiratory disease is 50 and above.
It is mostly typical for men; there are two to three times as many men diagnosed with it than women. Not infrequently the chronic form, if not treated and taken care of, results in death, which is caused by pulmonary heart disease and emphysema developing alongside with the bronchitis.
Bronchitis causes may include smoking, viruses (of flu, parainfluenza, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, etc.) and bacteria (pneumococcus, haemophilus influenzae, streptococcus). Other bronchitis causes may be related to coming in contact with mushrooms, allergens and toxic substances.
The most frequent cases of bronchitis infection are airborne, that is having to do with coming in contact with the person diagnosed with either chronic or acute bronchitis, inhaling infected saliva particles. Depending on its form, chronic or acute, the symptoms may vary.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis will largely depend the ARD, which caused it. It has already been mentioned that they may caused by various viruses and bacteria, on account of which the mucous membrane of the bronchi become very sensitive to bacteria in general.
Bronchitis symptoms include severe coughing with mucus (which is also typical for the chronic form), high fever, sore throat, nasal congestion, labored breathing, runny nose and other various symptoms that are sometimes prevalent in acute respiratory diseases.
As a rule and on account of all those symptoms, bronchitis causes fatigue, decrease in working efficiency, and inability to function properly. However, if the cough persists and it is not treated properly, bronchitis causes asthma. If one coughs up blood along with mucus, it is time to consult a doctor, because in certain instances and if not treated well bronchitis causes tuberculosis and even lung cancer.
Since acute bronchitis is in the majority of cases (90%) caused by viruses, no special antibiotics are really required. It takes about one full week for the organism to treat itself. Antibiotics may used to treat acute bronchitis caused by bacteria.
The main idea behind treating this form is getting rid of the cough. Thus, any methods may be used, such as massage, rest, consuming liquids in great amounts, water as well as hot/warm tea with raspberry, honey, lime flowers. Since bronchitis causes not only the inflammation of the bronchi but also the inflammation of the throat, soft, mild and lightly spiced food is recommended.
Smokers are advised to go lighter on their cigarettes, if quitting is out of the question. As for medical intervention, anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antitussive drugs may be suggested for a well-rounded treatment. And speaking of the chronic form of bronchitis, a good maintenance therapy should be observed, since the obstruction of airways cannot be completely removed.