Symptoms and Treatment of Bronchitis

Symptoms and Treatment of Bronchitis

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Symptoms and Treatment of Bronchitis


Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi. It may develop suddenly,
following a head cold (acute bronchitis), or it may persist or return
regularly for many years, causing progressive degeneration of the bronchi
and lungs (chronic bronchitis). Certain people are more susceptible than
others; Men are more of a target to bronchitis than women, out numbering
them 10 to 1 cc the reasons are unclear. Of course smokers are 50 times
more likely to get chronic bronchitis than nonsmokers. Acute bronchitis
is a bacteria or virus infection, often following a cold smoking. People
who have acute bronchitis usually have a mild fever, soreness under breast
bone, irritated by coughing. First they have a dry cough then the cough
later brings up green and yellow mucus. The cough may persist to 4 to 6
weeks. Chronic bronchitis is produced by other chronic problems:
sinusitis, smoking, TB, etc. The Bronchi becomes thick, inelastic, and
accumulate mucus and pus in lower part of lungs instead of bringing
discharges up and out. The result is chronic cough, shortness of breath,
sometimes spasm, and frequent infection.

In acute bronchitis, the basic symptoms are a head cold, fever and chills,
running nose, aching muscles and possibly back pains. This is soon
followed by the obvious persistent cough. At first the cough is dry and
racking and eventually becomes phlegmy. The persistent cough is worse at
night than during the day, and when the person breathes in smoke and fumes.

The main symptoms most recognized in chronic bronchitis is, again, a cough,
with sputum, often occurring in paroxysms. Other symptoms in chronic
bronchitis are dependant on how much, or how little, emphysema is present.
This disorder causes the lungs to become overstretched, making the
breathing process difficult. The chronic bronchitic with no emphysema tends
to be overweight and often has a bluish tinge to his or her lips due to
lack of oxygen. Shortness of breath only occurs during exercise and
other strenuous activity. The bronchitic with a great deal of emphysema,
who has lost a lot of his or her oxygen cc exchanging ability, due to the
condition, is short of breath at all times. The bronchitic with emphysema
very often are underweight and, as the disease comes worse, develops a
barrel chest. The Chronic bronchitic also wheezes because of the
obstruction.

NOTE: Emphysema is a state of overdistention of the tiny air-containing
sacs of the lung.

The cause of bronchitis are from viral or bacterial infections which
spreads to the chest.

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The body uses defence mechanisms to try to prevent
the viruses and bacterias from spreading the infections. Examples of
defence mechanisms are sneezing, coughing, etc. There are also white
blood cells to help us the fight off the bacterias and viruses. However
if new viruses and bacterias enters our body then the white blood cells
will have to take some time to recognize the new viruses and bacterias.
Fortunately, a different kind of white blood cells try to fight off the
bacterias and viruses as much as they can but unfortunately as they are
doing that, they are releasing other chemicals. The chemicals enter the
tissue that surrounds the trachea (see page 5 cc diagram 1) and they begin
to expand and swell up. As they expand, they squeeze the trachea (see pg 5
cc diagram 2). As a result, less air can pass through the trachea causing
a short of breath. Generally, bronchitis occurs with greater frequency in
winter, in damp, cold climates, and in heavy polluted environments.

The best treatment for acute bronchitis is bed rest in a warm room. Cough
medicines will relieve the cough and aspirin will reduce the fever. Acute
bronchitis that is viral usually runs it's course without medication. A
proper diet and avoidance of additional irritants such as smoking are
recommended. Steam inhalations is helpful in eliminating congestive mucus.
Antibiotics may be needed if the cause is bacteria. Treatment of chronic
bronchitis is more difficult. The patients lungs are already damaged and
the destruction of the airways are not easily renewed. Bronchial dilator
drugs may be given to the patient to relieve any such obstruction, while
physiotherapy will help the patient get rid of any sputum. Yoga and
breathing exercises may help shortness of breath. In severe cases, urgent
hospital treatment may be required. Oxygen may have to be given through
the course of the illness. Postal drainage can also be tried. This is
when the patient lies on a bed, a large cushion raising the groin, and
smaller pillows supporting the chest. Tapping the chest in this position
causes the patient to cough up sputum. The patient should stop smoking
immediately, although this will not reverse the chronic bronchitis, it
will arrest it. Chronic bronchitis should try to avoid environments where
there are irritants that can bring on attacks.

Bronchitis is prevented by keeping good health habits and by giving instant
treatment to milder respiratory infections. Living in a clean environment
and not smoking or not inhaling cigarette smoke is strongly recommended.
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