The air enters the lungs via the nostrils or the mouth, reaches the trachea and then the bronchial tubes and the bronchioles. At the end of this journey, we have the alveoli, where the air exchange takes place. Due to various reasons, including bacterial and viral infections, air pollution, and smoking, the bronchial tubes undergo inflammation, and this is known as bronchitis.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs. It can be acute or chronic depending on the cause and duration of the disease. Symptoms of acute bronchitis last for 10 days up to 3 weeks, and don’t have longer duration. People of all ages may get acute bronchitis, but it is more prevalent in children under the age of 5.
Chronic Bronchitis is a more serious condition. Symptoms are maintained for more than 3 months, and does not cure completely. The most common cause is smoking and air pollution, which makes the lungs secrete more mucus. Chronic Bronchitis is a type of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and it usually affects adults over the age of 40.
Some of the symptoms of Acute and Chronic Bronchitis are explained below:
Shortness of breath
In cases of bronchitis, there is excessive mucus production in response to the irritation of the bronchial linings. This accumulation of bronchial fluid makes it difficult for the lungs to expand properly. The airway tubes below the bronchi don’t get enough air because of the accumulated mucus in the airway, and in the respiration becomes compromised. Trying to overcome the problem, patients feel urged to take deep breaths more frequently, and may report breathing discomfort.