Cough is generally the most common symptom observed amongst patients. It starts early in the course of many acute respiratory tract infections and goes on to become prominent as the disease continues to develop. It is often difficult to distinguish between upper respiratory infection and acute bronchitis within the first few days but cough lasting more than 5 days may suggest acute bronchitis .
In patients with acute bronchitis, cough generally lasts from 10-20 days. Sputum production is reported in more than 50% of individuals that present cough as symptom. The sputum may be green, yellow, clear or even blood tinged. In 50% of acute bronchitis cases, purulent sputum is reported. These changes in colour in the sputum is as a result of peroxidase released by leukocytes in sputum and this is why colour alone is not to be considered indicative of bacterial infection.
Fever is an unusual presentation and if this comes with the cough, pneumonia or influenza is often the case. Also, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea are rare. In severe cases, general malaise and chest pain may be presented. When there is severe involvement of the trachea, substernal chest pain association with respiration, coughing and burning will be presented.
Entire Body System
Bronchitis can cause: Cough Production of mucus Shortness of breath Wheezing Chest tightness Low fever and chills Fatigue Most bronchitis is caused by viruses. The same viruses that cause colds and flu often cause acute bronchitis. [aurorahealthcare.org]
Both cause cough, fever, fatigue, and a heavy feeling in your chest. Bronchitis can sometimes progress to pneumonia. Despite similarities, the conditions are different. [my.clevelandclinic.org]
Sinus congestion Chest congestion Shortness of breath Wheezing Fatigue Body aches or chills Chest discomfort from coughing Here's a snapshot of the symptoms that distinguish acute bronchitis from chronic bronchitis, followed by more detailed information [verywell.com]
Symptoms For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include: Cough Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with blood Fatigue Shortness of breath [mayoclinic.com]
Less common causes may be Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Bordetella pertussis, and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Less than 5% of cases are caused by bacteria, sometimes in outbreaks. [merckmanuals.com]
Antibiotics are generally not indicated for bronchitis, and should be used only if pertussis is suspected to reduce transmission or if the patient is at increased risk of developing pneumonia (e.g., patients 65 years or older). [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
In the case of mycoplasmal pneumonia, bronchial irritation results from the attachment of the organism ( Mycoplasma pneumoniae ) to the respiratory mucosa, with eventual sloughing of affected cells. [emedicine.medscape.com]
Nasopharyngeal samples can be tested for influenza and pertussis if these disorders are clinically suspected (eg, for pertussis, persistent and paroxysmal cough after 10 to 14 days of illness, only sometimes with the characteristic whoop and/or retching [merckmanuals.com]
However, after the initial diagnosis, nucleic acid amplification tests of her sputum showed the absence of both Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Bordetella pertussis infections. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Bronchitis may be suspected in patients with an acute respiratory infection with cough; yet, because many more serious diseases of the lower respiratory tract cause cough, bronchitis must be considered a diagnosis of exclusion. A complete blood count with differential may be obtained.
Procalcitonin levels may be useful to distinguish bacterial infections from nonbacterial infections. Studies have shown that they may help guide therapy and reduce the use of antibioics.
If the cough is persistent sputum cytology may be helpful.
Chest radiography should be performed in those patients whose physical examination findings suggest pneumonia. Elderly patients may have no signs of pneumonia; therefore, chest radiography may be warranted in these patients, even without other clinical signs of infection .
Therapy is generally focused on alleviation of symptoms. Toward this goal, a doctor may prescribe a combination of medications that open obstructed bronchial airways and thin obstructive mucus so that it can be coughed up more easily. Care for acute bronchitis is primarily supportive and should ensure that the patient is oxygenating adequately. Bed rest is recommended .
The most common viral causes of acute bronchitis are influenza A and B virus, parainfluenza, coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus. However, an etiologic agent is identified in very few cases. Acute bronchitis is also caused by infections like those caused by Haemophilus influenza, catarrhalis, Moraxella, Streptococcus pneumonia, Chlamydia pneumonia and the Mycoplasma species. Exposure to irritants like pollution, chemicals and tobacco smoke can also bring about acute bronchial irritation. 70-80% of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis arise from respiratory infections.
For chronic bronchitis, cigarette smoking is the major cause  . The risk factors that are common for acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis include low forced expiratory volume in one second and old age. For chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cigarette smoking is responsible for about 85-90% of cases. According to research, smoking cigars, pipes and marijuana causes the same damage as the cigarettes. All forms of smoking inhibits ciliary movement and the function of the alveolar macrophages. This leads to hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the mucus-secreting glands.
Bronchitis is common worldwide and is one of the top 5 reasons why people seek medical help in many countries. No difference in racial distribution has been reported. Bronchitis most often occurs in autumn or winter. The disorder is seen frequently in countries with a low socioeconomic status and in people who live in urban and industrialized regions. The condition affects more males than females around the world.
The cells of the bronchial-lining tissue of an individual suffering from acute bronchitis are irritated and the mucous membranes become oedematous and hyperaemic . This brings about reduced mucociliary function and clogs up the air passaged with debris thereby increasing irritation. In response, to this a large amount of secretion ensues and this is what brings about the characteristic cough seen with bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis may equally result due to persistent acute bronchitis attacks or it may arise as a result of heavy smoking or inhalation of air that is contaminated with other pollutants in the environment. When the cough of the smoker is continual instead of occasional, it shows a bronchial lining that has thickened and narrowed the airways to a point where breathing is no longer easy.
There is no way to prevent all cases of acute bronchitis. However, the risk of bronchitis and complications can be reduced by not smoking and by getting flu shots to reduce the risk of getting the flu, which can lead to acute bronchitis .
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes found the bronchi. The bronchi is the medium and larger sized airways which carry airflow from the trachea down to the distal parts of the lung . Bronchitis is of two types: acute and chronic.
With acute bronchitis, there is cough and a small sensation at the back of the throat and sputum may or may not be present. This type of bronchitis is seen during the course of an acute viral illness like common cold or influenza.
Chronic bronchitis is characterised by the presence of cough lasting more than 3 months or more every year for at least two consecutive years. It is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This type of bronchitis often develops because of a recurrent injury to the airways caused by irritants inhaled by the individual.
Bronchitis occurs when there is inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes are responsible for carrying air to and from the lungs. Individuals with bronchitis have cough that produces mucus that is thickened. The mucus may be discolored. Bronchitis can either be acute or chronic.
Acute bronchitis is the most common type of bronchitis and it often arises as a result of cold or other respiratory infections. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is the more serious of the two and it arises from regular irritation and inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. The irritation arises from smoking most of the time.
Acute bronchitis eases off within a few days without any lasting effects but the accompanying cough may last for weeks or more. If repeated cases of bronchitis happens it is most likely the chronic form that requires medical attention.
In many cases, bronchitis doesn't lead to any serious physical damages as outlook is very positive.
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