Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi [Large and medium-sized airways] in the lungs. Symptoms include coughing up mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts for three months or more per year for at least two years
Anyone can get acute bronchitis, but infants, young children, and the elderly are more likely to get the disease because people of these age group generally have weaker immune systems. Although acute and chronic bronchitis are both inflammations of the air passages, The causes, and treatment of both acute and chronic bronchitis are different. Acute bronchitis is most prevalent in winter. It usually follows a viral infection, such as a cold or flu, and can be accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection. Acute bronchitis resolves within two weeks, although a cough persists longer. Acute bronchitis, like any upper airway inflammatory process, can increase a person’s likelihood of developing pneumonia.
In chronic bronchitis, the symptoms are present for at least three months in each of two consecutive years. Chronic bronchitis is caused by inhaling bronchial irritants, especially cigarette smoke. Recently, more humans have started developing chronic bronchitis, as the number of people who smoke has also increased, hence the rate of chronic bronchitis has also increased. This disease progresses slowly so the middle-aged and older people are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis usually begins with the symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and dry cough. However, the cough soon becomes deep and painful. Coughing brings up a greenish yellow phlegm or sputum. These symptoms may be accompanied by a fever of up to 102°F (38.8°C). Wheezing after coughing is common.
Chronic bronchitis is caused by inhaling respiratory tract irritants. The most common irritant is cigarette smoke. Other irritants include chemical fumes, air pollution, and environmental irritants, such as mold or dust. Chronic bronchitis develops slowly over time. A mild cough, sometimes called smokers’ cough, is usually the first visible sign of chronic bronchitis. Coughing brings up phlegm, although the amount varies considerably from person to person. Wheezing and shortness of breath may accompany a cough.
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