Chronic Bronchitis - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Chronic Bronchitis - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Chronic Bronchitis - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes that generally lasts for 3 months or occurs several times in 2 years. Chronic bronchitis is a type of lung disease that is included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic bronchitis is a type of bronchitis that occurs due to exposure to chemicals or cigarette smoke. Unlike acute bronchitis, which is usually caused by a viral infection and resolves within 1-2 weeks, chronic bronchitis is a more serious condition and develops over time.

Chronic Bronchitis - Alodokter

The symptoms of chronic bronchitis can get better or worse. It should be noted that the improvement of chronic bronchitis symptoms does not always indicate that the patient's condition has fully improved.

Chronic Bronchitis Causes

The main cause of chronic bronchitis is long-term exposure to cigarette smoke. Inhaled cigarette smoke makes the respiratory tract irritated and filled with mucus. If the mucus in the respiratory tract builds up, the sufferer can have difficulty breathing, especially during activities.

In addition to exposure to cigarette smoke, several other conditions that put a person at higher risk for chronic bronchitis are:

  • Has a family history of lung disease
  • Frequently exposed to dust or fumes of chemical combustion
  • Living in a neighborhood with poor air quality
  • Suffers from a genetic disease in the form of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms

Chronic bronchitis is characterized by coughing that appears almost every day for at least 3 months in 1 year and for 2 consecutive years. Coughing is also not caused by tuberculosis or other lung diseases.

Other common symptoms of chronic bronchitis include:

  • Cough with yellow, green, or white mucus
  • Breath sounds or wheezing
  • chest pain
  • Easy to get tired
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Nails, lips or skin are bluish in color

When to see a doctor

Immediately consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of chronic bronchitis as mentioned above. It is also necessary to consult a doctor if you have a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks and is accompanied by the following conditions:

  • Fever more than 3 days
  • Coughing up blood
  • Symptoms of lung disease or asthma
  • Breaths become shorter
  • Symptoms of bronchitis often recur
  • chest pain
  • Dizziness or feeling like passing out

Chronic Bronchitis Diagnosis

The doctor will ask questions about the symptoms, as well as the patient's and family's medical history, followed by a physical examination. After that, the doctor will run a follow-up examination, such as:

  • Blood gas analysis, to measure oxygen, carbon dioxide and pH levels in the blood
  • Chest X-ray, to detect signs of infection or fluid around the lungs
  • Lung function test, to measure the ability of the lungs to breathe
  • Spirometry test, to measure lung function in expelling air

Chronic Bronchitis Treatment

Treatment of chronic bronchitis aims to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Some methods that can be done by doctors are:

  • Bronchodilators, which are available in inhaled form, to ease breathing and reduce coughing
  • Steroids, to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract
  • Antibiotics, to treat secondary infections that can occur due to chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis patients with severe symptoms can be given oxygen in the hospital or at home. Patients are also advised to undergo flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine. If needed, the doctor can carry out medical procedures to treat fluid buildup in the patient's lungs.

Patients can also do breathing exercises to maximize oxygen absorption. The trick is to take a deep breath and exhale slowly through your mouth.

Chronic Bronchitis Complications

Chronic bronchitis can cause a number of complications such as:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Pneumothorax
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Breathing failure
  • Right heart failure
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Lung cancer

Chronic Bronchitis Prevention

Chronic bronchitis can be prevented by avoiding various factors that can trigger irritation of the bronchial tubes. Efforts that can be made include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of infection
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals, air pollution, and cigarette smoke
  • Avoid using insect spray or hair spray
  • Do not have close contact with people who are sick with the flu or coughing colds
  • Using a mask when you are sick or caring for sick people

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