The bronchi are large and medium-sized airways that carry the air we breathe from outside to the alveoli, where the blood is oxygenated. Bronchitis is the inflammation of these bronchi due to a number of factors. During this inflammation, the layer called mucous, which covers the bronchi from the inside, becomes edematous and thickens and produces more sticky fluid called mucus; as a result, air cannot easily reach the alveoli.
There are two types of bronchitis:
It generally occurs as a result of thickening of the bronchial walls and increased mucus production due to infections or various allergies caused by microbes such as viruses or bacteria. It heals when the causative infection is treated or the allergy-causing substance is removed from the environment.
In chronic bronchitis, which occurs as a result of smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there is also thickening of the bronchial walls and increased mucus production. However, chronic bronchitis cannot heal as quickly as acute bronchitis.
Most acute bronchitis is caused by viruses. Although the causative virus cannot be identified in all patients, it is known that viruses such as Influenza A and B, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and coronavirus, adenovirus, rhinovirus cause acute bronchitis.
Mycoplasma type bacteria, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Moraxella catarrhalis and Haemophilus influenza are shown as the cause of some of the acute bronchitis.
In addition to these, short-term exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution and some chemical vapors and fumes that can cause irritation and destruction of the bronchi, and various allergies can also cause acute bronchitis.
The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. Almost all smokers have chronic brochitis. Air pollution, dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace can also cause chronic bronchitis with prolonged exposure.
Symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis include a deep cough with phlegm, shortness of breath and wheezing.
In addition to these, acute bronchitis may show some symptoms such as:
-Yellow or green sputum
-Other findings that may be caused by infections such as nasal congestion, sore ---throat, headache
-In chronic bronchitis, unlike acute bronchitis;
-Frequent severe lung infections
-Cyanosis (a bluish coloration of the skin, especially around the mouth, eyes, and nails) due to low oxygen levels
-Constant state of fatigue
-There may be symptoms such as shortness of breath that develops while exercising or moving.
However, chronic bronchitis can also be defined as a cough with sputum for at least two years, three months a year.
Your doctor will listen to your medical history and perform a physical examination on your symptoms and complaints. Although acute bronchitis can be defined as a cough with phlegm starting after a severe upper respiratory tract infection, and chronic bronchitis as a prolonged and persistent cough in the absence of any infection, bronchitis is actually a diagnosis of exclusion.
After other causes that may cause a long-term cough are eliminated by physical examination and various tests, bronchitis can be diagnosed and its treatment can be started. Your doctor may request the following tests:
It provides evaluation in terms of infection and anemia by looking at your blood values.
Determination of bacteria or other features that may be found in sputum is made.
This test measures how narrow the bronchial tubes are, the amount and speed of inhaled air. In particular, it gives information about the presence of diseases such as COPD and asthma that may accompany.
Arterial Blood Gas
This blood test checks the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood and measures the amount of acidity in the blood. It is used to examine the severity of bronchitis and the status of diseases such as COPD / emphysema in patients deemed necessary.
It is the test used to show pneumonia (pneumonia) or other obstructions in the airway.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
It is a radiological examination used to reveal diseases such as atelectasis and mass in patients with risk factors, especially by revealing obstructions in the airways with sharper images.
Although the use of antibiotics in bronchitis found to be bacterial may be appropriate, acute bronchitis can be healed without the need for any antibiotics since some of it is caused by viruses. However, some treatments can be used to control the symptoms and prevent the disease from progressing.
These treatments generally include drugs that relax the bronchi and prevent the thickening of the mucus (to prevent the mucus from forming plugs). In addition, in acute bronchitis, drinking plenty of water and avoiding substances that cause allergies or that can irritate the bronchi can be a part of the treatment.
In some cases, bronchitis symptoms can last much longer. If symptoms persist for more than three months, it may be described as "chronic bronchitis." Antibiotic treatment can also be used in acute attacks in chronic bronchitis patients and in elderly patients with additional disease and risk factors.