Maiden Lane Medical
Multi-Specialty Group Practice located in New York, NY
Having a persistent cough, soreness in your chest, and feeling fatigued may be more than just your common cold. You may have bronchitis.
If so, our highly trained internist at Maiden Lane Medical in Manhattan, NY can assist you! Our multidisciplinary team offers a wide range of treatment options for bronchitis. Call our office or schedule an appointment online today!
What Is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a condition that occurs when your bronchial tubes — the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs — become inflamed and produce an excessive surge in mucus production. When your bronchial tubes become inflamed, you may experience chronic coughing, trouble breathing, and other symptoms that can make life uncomfortable.
Types of Bronchitis
There are two types of bronchitis. They are described in detail below.
This is the short-term form of the condition and can resolve on its own. Acute bronchitis is very common, and most usually recover within 10-14 days. However, in some cases, it can last for three weeks. It is usually caused by a viral infection, and tobacco smoke can heighten your symptoms.
Clinically, this form of bronchitis occurs when you have lung inflammation and a productive cough (producing mucus) for three consecutive months for at least two years. Chronic bronchitis requires medical attention. This serious long-term condition develops more commonly in people who smoke.
Chronic bronchitis also increases your risk of developing chronic breathing problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a collective term used to describe a range of diseases and illnesses that can interfere with your ability to breathe. Two of the most common types of COPD are:
- Chronic bronchitis
The chronic inflammation caused by long-term chronic bronchitis can cause the tissue in your lungs to harden and thicken, destroying the tissues that allow oxygen to transfer into your bloodstream. This makes it progressively harder to get air in and out of your lungs, resulting in chronic coughing. Fortunately, it is possible to have chronic bronchitis without COPD.
Whom Does Bronchitis Affect?
While bronchitis can affect anyone, you may be at higher risk if you:
- Smoke or are exposed to cigarette smoke long-term.
- Are exposed to air pollution, including chemicals and smoke.
- Have breathing conditions such as asthma, COPD, etc.
- Have a weakened immune system or an underlying condition.
What Impact Can Bronchitis Have on My Body?
Bronchitis can have a major effect on your body because it affects your ability to breathe. As long as you have inflammation or mucus in your airways, you will have a cough. This can have an impact on your quality of life. Some symptoms of bronchitis include:
- Excessive amounts of mucus being produced
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)/ trouble breathing
- A runny nose
- Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- Possible chest pain
Additionally, acute bronchitis can exhibit symptoms of the flu, including body aches. Chronic bronchitis symptoms are similar to symptoms of acute bronchitis; however, they persist for several months.
How Are Acute and Chronic Bronchitis Contracted?
Acute bronchitis can be contracted by a viral infection or a cold. While rare, it can also be caused by a bacterial infection.
Acute bronchitis is contagious. It can be spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. You can also contract acute bronchitis by touching a surface or something else that a sick person has touched and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Chronic bronchitis is not caused by bacteria or a virus. It is usually caused by cigarette smoking. If smoking is continued, it can make your symptoms worse. There are also additional factors that can cause this disease, including:
- Exposure to toxic chemical fumes or gasses, as well as air pollution
- Childhood respiratory disease
- A history of lung disease within your family
- Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)
How Are Acute and Chronic Bronchitis Diagnosed?
To diagnose bronchitis, our internist will first review your medical history, symptoms, and your lifestyle. Your bronchitis specialist will also listen to your lungs.
After doing so, they may order a chest x-ray to see if your bronchial tubes and lungs look normal. Additional blood tests may also be ordered to look for any signs of infection in your blood or mucus.
How Are Acute and Chronic Bronchitis Treated?
Treatment for acute bronchitis typically includes rest, fluids, using a humidifier to loosen mucus, and over-the-counter medicines. Ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen can be used to lower your fever.
Additionally, if you have a bacterial infection, your physician may prescribe antibiotics. It is important to note that antibiotics do not have any effect on viral infections.
The treatment rendered for long-term chronic bronchitis is different. Your physician may:
- Prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and to open your airways. These medications can include bronchodilators (a drug that helps open your airways), corticosteroids, or a combination of drugs.
- Suggest pulmonary rehabilitation may to manage chronic bronchitis and help make breathing easier. Pulmonary rehabilitation may include lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking if you are a smoker), modifying your diet, and exercises. By following the treatment your doctor recommends, you can reduce the severity of your bronchitis!
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Reducing My Risk of Bronchitis
There are ways to reduce your risk of contracting bronchitis, including:
- When possible, try to avoid being around others if they are sick. It would also be helpful to avoid being around others if you are sick as well.
- Wash your hands frequently. If you are not in a position where you can wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding cigarette smoke and other irritants.
- Wearing a mask.
If you would like more information about bronchitis or suspect that you have chronic bronchitis that could eventually lead to requiring laparoscopic surgery, schedule a personalized consultation with our experts at Maiden Lane Medical in Manhattan, NY today! We will be more than happy to assist you in improving your breathing so you can return to doing the things you love!
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