Chronic Bronchitis

(Bronchitis, Chronic)

Definition

Chronic bronchitis is a long-term disease of the lungs. It is a problem with the airways of the lungs. Injury or irritation causes these airways to swell and develop extra mucus. This makes it difficult to move air in and out of the lungs. It will make breathing difficult. Chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Chronic Bronchitis
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Causes

Chronic bronchitis is caused damage to the airways. The damage is caused by:
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Inhaling toxins or other irritants
  • Genetic predisposition can make a person's lungs more susceptible to damage from smoke or pollutants (alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency)

Risk Factors

Cigarette smoking is the greatest risk factor for developing chronic bronchitis. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the greater your chance of developing chronic bronchitis. Frequent and long-term smoking also increases the chance of severe chronic bronchitis.Chronic bronchitis is more common in people over 40 years old. Other factors that may increase your risk of chronic bronchitis include:
  • Long-term exposure to chemicals, dust, and other substances that have been inhaled
  • Long-term cigar or marijuana smoking
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Family members with COPD
  • History of frequent childhood lung infections
  • Long term asthma

Symptoms

Symptoms include:
  • Cough
  • Increased mucus production
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, especially after mild activity or exercise
  • Recurring respiratory infections that cause symptoms to worsen
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Fatigue

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