Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus. It can also cause shortness of breath, wheezing, a low fever, and chest tightness. There are two main types of bronchitis: acute and chronic.

Chronic bronchitis is one type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The inflamed bronchial tubes produce a lot of mucus. This leads to coughing and difficulty breathing. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause. Breathing in air pollution, fumes, or dust over a long period of time may also cause it.

To diagnose chronic bronchitis, your doctor will look at your signs and symptoms and listen to your breathing. You may also have other tests.

Chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that keeps coming back or never goes away completely. If you smoke, it is important to quit. Treatment can help with your symptoms. It often includes medicines to open your airways and help clear away mucus. You may also need oxygen therapy. Pulmonary rehabilitation may help you manage better in daily life.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis

The following features are indicative of Chronic Bronchitis:
  • cough
  • clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color mucus
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • slight fever and chills
  • chest discomfort

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Common Causes of Chronic Bronchitis

The following are the most common causes of Chronic Bronchitis:
  • cigarette smoking
  • air pollution
  • ingestion of dust or toxic gases

Risk Factors for Chronic Bronchitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Chronic Bronchitis:
  • cigarette smoking
  • acute illness such as a cold
  • exposure to irritants on the job
  • gastric reflux

Prevention of Chronic Bronchitis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Chronic Bronchitis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • quit smoking
  • avoid inhalation of dust, fumes, vapors, and air pollution
  • wash your hands frequently

Occurrence of Chronic Bronchitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Chronic Bronchitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Chronic Bronchitis most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 15-60 years

Common Gender

Chronic Bronchitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Chronic Bronchitis:
  • Chest X-ray: To determine pneumonia or another condition
  • Sputum tests: To check for whooping cough or other illnesses
  • Pulmonary function test: To measure how much air lungs can able to hold

Doctor for Diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis:
  • Infectious disease specialist
  • Pulmonologist

Complications of Chronic Bronchitis if untreated

Yes, Chronic Bronchitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Chronic Bronchitis is left untreated:
  • pneumonia

Procedures for Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis

The following procedures are used to treat Chronic Bronchitis:
  • Lung volume reduction surgery: Removes the damaged emphysema
  • Lung transplantation: Replacement with new lungs which come from a donor

Medicines for Chronic Bronchitis

Below is the list of medicines used for Chronic Bronchitis:

Self-care for Chronic Bronchitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Chronic Bronchitis:
  • Quit smoking: Avoid smoking reduces the chances of disease

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Chronic Bronchitis.
Acute Bronchitis
Oxygen Therapy
Pulmonary Rehabilitation

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