Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes (airways) in the lungs.
This condition causes excessive mucus to be secreted into the tubes and narrowing or closing the bronchial tubes. People suffering from bronchitis may experience wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Persistent cough with thick, discolored mucus is the most common symptom.
When the inflammation of the airways resolves within two or three weeks, the condition is termed as acute bronchitis. If, however, the cough with mucus persists for more than three months to at least two years, the condition is known as chronic bronchitis. The mucus may be yellow, green, or white in color.
What causes Chronic Bronchitis?
The causes of chronic bronchitis include:
Smoking is the one of the chief causes of chronic bronchitis
Smog, industrial pollutants, and solvents, may cause chronic bronchitis as well
Acute bronchitis due to viral and bacterial infections may result in chronic bronchitis, if the person suffers from repeated bouts of infection
Underlying diseases such as asthma, congestive heart failure, cystic fibrosis, immunodeficiency, genetics, and bronchiectasis are the other causes
What are the symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis?
The hallmark symptom of chronic bronchitis is the persistent heavy cough that brings up mucus from the lungs.
Gradually, the lungs increase the production of mucus causing it to accumulate inside the bronchial tubes. This restricts the airflow making breathing slightly difficult. This may be accompanied with wheezing that worsens during any physical activity. Other symptoms of chronic bronchitis include fever, chills, fatigue, bad breath, chest congestion, and discomfort in the chest.
Your skin and lips may turn bluish due to lack of oxygen in the later stages of chronic bronchitis. Decreased level of oxygen in the bloodstream may cause swelling in the ankles and legs as well.
However, the symptoms may vary in severity and frequency as the ailment progresses. In some instances, the cough may disappear for some time only to return with more intense coughing bouts. Infections, respiratory tract infections, pollution, irritants, and heart problems may trigger chronic bronchitis cough, which can affect your day-to-day life.
How to alleviate the symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis?
Natural remedies and certain lifestyle changes may help to alleviate the symptoms associated with disease, especially chronic bronchitis cough:
Quit smoking at the earliest. Also, wear a mask if you live in a polluted area or work in a factory.
Use a humidifier. The warm and moist air from a humidifier will help clear the airways so that you can breathe better. However, make sure that the humidifier is clean and free of bacteria and fungi.
Include some sort of physical activity that will strengthen the muscles of your lungs and help you breathe properly. Start by working out slowly initially and then increase the intensity gradually. Consult your doctor and ask him to chalk out an exercise plan for you depending on your condition.
The intensity of the coughs will reduce when your airways are clean and free of mucus. Consult your doctor, and he will give you specific medicines to open the airways, so that you can breathe easy.