When the bronchial tubes are inflamed, they start to produce mucus. The inflammation and buildup of mucus make it more difficult to breathe. Chronic bronchitis is usually a permanent problem and is one type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with chronic bronchitis are at greater risk for getting repeated colds, or respiratory infections.
Chronic bronchitis most often occurs in people who have:
- Long-standing, severe asthma.
- A history of smoking.
- Asthma and who also smoke.
Signs & Symptoms
Chronic bronchitis may cause the following:
- A cough that brings up mucus (productive cough).
- Shortness of breath.
- Early morning headache.
- Chest discomfort.
- Recurring respiratory infections.
Our consultants may confirm the diagnosis by:
- Taking your medical history.
- Performing a physical exam.
- Taking a chest X-ray.
- Performing pulmonary function tests.
Treatment involves controlling symptoms with medicines, oxygen therapy, or making lifestyle changes, such as exercising and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Medicines could include:
- Inhalers to improve air flow in and out of your lungs.
- Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, sinus infections, and acute bronchitis.
As a preventative measure, your health care provider may recommend routine vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia. This is to prevent infection and hospitalization since you may be more at risk for these types of infections.
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