Bronchitis describes an inflammation of swelling of the bronchial tubes, AKA the bronchi. These are the air passages that run between the mouth and the lungs and as such, bronchitis can cause difficulty breathing. It is not actually the tubes themselves that become inflamed however but rather the lining of the bronchial tubes.
Those with bronchitis can suffer a number of different symptoms that we will look at here, including difficulty breathing and getting oxygen into the lungs.
There are actually two different kinds of bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is caused by viruses and you will likely have experienced it when you’ve had a cold or flu. It can also sometimes be caused by exposure to irritants that directly cause the linings of the bronchial tubes to become inflamed and irritated. Common culprits include tobacco smoke, dust, fumes, pollution and others.
The other kind of bronchitis is ‘chronic bronchitis’. We don’t typically tend to describe a cold or flu as bronchitis, seeing as this is just one symptom of the cold or flu among many. Thus, the term bronchitis will most often refer to its chronic form, whereby the airways have become permanently damaged and this then causes continuous coughing and other symptoms.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the symptoms of both kinds of bronchitis, so that you can identify whether you have the condition or whether you perhaps are suffering with a different complaint.
1. Persistent Coughing
The most common symptom of bronchitis is a consistent coughing. This can last from several weeks to several months (in the case of acute bronchitis) and will often be a hacking cough which will bring up mucus.
Persistent coughing can in itself cause a number of other unwanted side effects, if it causes you to strain for example or if you further irritate your throat and bronchial tubes. Throat sweets and other medications might be used to treat this symptom, while inhaling steam can also be useful to settle the area.
Along with the coughing it is common to hear or feel rattling or wheezing when breathing. This is caused by the air escaping through a narrower passageway, as well as the mucus that might be moving freely inside the lungs and the throat.