Sunday, November 19, 2017

Chronic Bronchitis: Overview and Treatment

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Category: Bronchitis

Are you a smoker? Then chances are you have a “smoker’s cough,” or chronic bronchitis. About half of all smokers—some 14 million Americans—have chronic bronchitis, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Smoking is almost always its underlying cause, though exposure to dust, chemical vapors, and other respiratory irritants may aggravate it.

It’s easy to tell the difference between ordinary (acute) and chronic bronchitis. When you have the former, your cough is typically dry and hacking. But a chronic bronchitis cough is “productive”—you bring up thick wet mucus. There are two reasons for this: When you smoke, your bronchial tubes become permanently inflamed. To protect them from further damage, your bronchi secrete thick mucus. Meanwhile, smoking also disables the tiny hairs (cilia) that clear mucus from your respiratory tract. So you produce more mucus, but your cilia can’t get rid of it. Tour body’s only alternative is to cough it up.

At first, chronic bronchitis feels like the acute variety. But over time, it becomes almost constant, and the cough grows deeper and more productive. The worst coughing usually occurs first thing in the morning.

Treating Chronic Bronchitis

Quit smoking! For help quitting, see your doctor, or call your local office of the American Lung Association, or pick up a copy of The No-Nag, No-Guilt, Do-It-Your-Own-Way Guide to Quitting Smoking by Tom Ferguson, M.D. (Ballantine).

Vanquish vapors. If you work or hobbies expose you to respiratory irritants, use a respirator or other protective gear.

Filter your air. If you live in a smoggy area, install home and auto air conditioning for its filtering action. Or consider obtaining a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, available through medical supply houses.

Did we mention “Quit smoking?” Follow the suggestions in the BRONCHITIS discussion, but remember, the only real way to treat chronic bronchitis is to quit smoking.

Prescription Bronchitis Treatments Doctors treat chronic bronchitis with the bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat asthma, along with antibiotics if the cough suddenly worsens.

Red Flag

If your smoker’s cough, suddenly worsens, and you feel short of breath, or develop a fever, or notice unusually dark or bloody phlegm, call your doctor. You might have pneumonia, which may be serious.

Comments

One Response to “Chronic Bronchitis: Overview and Treatment”
  1. Chike says:

    how long does it last to treat a bronchitis
    thanks