Bronchitis is a fairly common reason for seeking medical help, both among children and adults. This disease can act as a complication of some other ailment (ARVI, cold) or be an independent disease. Bronchitis is characterized by the involvement of bronchi in the inflammatory process. There are two forms of the disease, which are very different from each other, and, accordingly, require different approaches to treatment.
What can be bronchitis?
Bronchitis is acute and chronic.
Chronic bronchitis is characterized by the persistence of a symptom in the form of a wet cough for more than three months in a row for at least two years. This is accompanied by a gradual reorganization of the mucosa apparatus, as a result of which the deterioration of the protective and purifying functions of the bronchi progresses.
Acute bronchitis is an acute inflammation of the bronchial mucosa, which entails an increase in the amount of secretion and a strong cough with phlegm. In turn, acute bronchitis happens:
- Obstructive (accompanied by swelling of the mucous membrane, resulting in clogged bronchi).
Causes of bronchitis
The causes of the development of acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis are somewhat different.
So, the main “culprits” of acute bronchitis are bacteria and viruses (less often they are fungi, toxic substances, allergens). Infection with this disease occurs by airborne droplets from an already afflicted patient (when sneezing, talking, kissing, etc.).
Chronic bronchitis, as a rule, occurs for the following reasons:
- Adverse living conditions (increased contamination, dust, permanent or frequent inhalation of chemicals);
- Long-term exposure to too cold or dry air;
- Frequent recurrences of respiratory infections.
There are a number of factors that can significantly increase the risk of any type of bronchitis:
- Genetic predisposition;
- Life in adverse climatic conditions;
- Smoking (including passive);
Symptoms of bronchitis
The very first and characteristic sign of bronchitis is a strong cough with profuse separation of sputum. On average, bronchuses normally produce about 30 g per day. Secret. It has a barrier and protective function – protects the bronchi from damage, warms and cleans the inhaled air, provides local immunity. With bronchitis, the pathogens and provokers of the disease damage the cells that make up the mucous membrane of the bronchi, and inflammation begins. As a result, the amount of secret produced is several times higher, it becomes more viscous. This mucus leads to disruption of the lungs and bronchi, and, besides, it is a wonderful environment for the life of microorganisms.
Sputum secreted by coughing in case of bronchitis develops, has a characteristic yellowish-gray or greenish color. Sometimes it is noticeable admixture of blood. As a rule, a strong cough is observed precisely in the mornings, later it starts to deliver to the patient many problems and at night.
It also happens that bronchitis is accompanied by a dry cough, which, unlike a moist one, is considered unproductive. At the same time, doctors listen to wheezing at the reception.
Other specific symptoms of bronchitis are:
- labored breathing;
- wheezing, usually noticeable not only on examination to the doctor, but also to the patient himself;
- soreness and cramps in the throat;
- increased body temperature (as a rule, the temperature is not too high);
- in some cases, attacks of suffocation.
How is the diagnosis made?
First of all, the doctor interrogates the patient, paying attention to his complaints. Then the specialist starts to inspect – carefully listens to the lungs and bronchi of the patient. To exclude a more serious and severe diagnosis – pneumonia – you may need x-rays. Often, an analysis of sputum is required, the results of which reveal the causative agent of the disease to assign the most targeted and, therefore, effective treatment.
Prevention of bronchitis
The first measure of the prevention of bronchitis is to strengthen the body’s defenses. These are the rules familiar to all, like:
- Rejection of bad habits;
- Adherence to the working and rest regime;
- High-grade food;
- Sufficient physical activity and other important principles of a healthy lifestyle.
Other approaches to the prevention of bronchitis:
- Admission in the period of seasonal epidemics (autumn, early spring, winter) immuno-fortifying drugs, schemes and dosage of which will be selected by the doctor; Here you can also include the reception of vitamin complexes.
- Vaccination – from a widespread pneumococcal infection, which is, among other things, a frequent cause of bronchitis, effectively protects the vaccine PNEVO-23; So people at risk (people over 50, people with chronic diseases of internal organs, genetically predisposed people, representatives of professions that involve contact with people (doctors, teachers, sellers, etc.), planning a woman’s pregnancy) are strongly encouraged to vaccinate , The effect of which lasts 5 years.
- Vaccination against influenza – because the provoking factor of bronchitis is often the virus infection.
- Compliance with personal hygiene rules – in particular, frequent hand washing.
- Avoiding contacts with patients and visiting places of mass congestion during epidemics.
- Timely elimination of foci of chronic infection in the body.
- Elimination of adverse household factors (dustiness, contamination, the presence of a large number of chemicals in the air, smoking).