Smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis.

What is chronic bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. There are two main types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

What causes chronic bronchitis?

Cigarette smoke is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. Breathing in other fumes and dusts over a long period of time also may cause the condition.

What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, a cough that often brings up mucus. Inflamed bronchi produce lots of mucus, causing the cough and difficulty getting air in and out of the lungs.

How does Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center diagnose chronic bronchitis?

Your doctor will diagnose bronchitis based on your signs and symptoms. He or she may use a stethoscope to listen for wheezing or abnormal sounds in your lungs and ask you several questions about your cough: How long have you had it? What are you coughing up? How frequently do you cough? Your doctor also may ask about your medical history, your exposure to air pollution and other irritants, whether you recently had a cold or flu and whether you smoke or spend time around others who do.

How does Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center treat chronic bronchitis?

Treatments include rest, fluids and aspirin or acetaminophen to treat fever. Steam from a humidifier also may help, while inhaled medicine may open your airways if you’re having trouble breathing. Treatment will help your symptoms, but chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that never goes away.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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