Today we are going to review the most common bronchitis symptoms in adults. Bronchitis, a type of lower respiratory tract infection, is inflammation of the bronchi in the lungs caused by viral or bacterial infections. It may present signs and symptoms, including chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing up phlegm or mucus, wheezing, and fever. Bronchitis can be either acute (lasting less than three weeks) or chronic (lasting more than three months).
Types and Causes of Bronchitis
Causes of bronchitis can be broken down into two main categories, infectious and non-infectious:
- Infectious Causes of Bronchitis are usually caused by viruses or bacteria and can range from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as influenza or pneumonia.
- Non-infectious Causes of Bronchitis include environmental factors such as air pollution, smoking, dust mites, allergies, and exposure to certain chemicals. Other contributing factors may be weakened immune systems or other underlying medical conditions.
There are also several different types of bronchitis:
- Acute bronchitis is the most common type, usually caused by a viral infection. Symptoms typically resolve within two weeks, although coughing may linger for several weeks.
- Chronic bronchitis is less common than acute bronchitis and typically lasts three months or longer. It can be caused by viral and bacterial infections or environmental factors such as air pollution or smoking. Chronic bronchitis often leads to permanent lung damage and can develop into other severe respiratory conditions.
- Bronchiectasis is an irreversible form of chronic bronchitis where the walls of the airways become thickened and damaged over time due to inflammation, frequent infections, or trauma from inhaling irritants or toxins.
- Asthmatic bronchitis is an inflammatory condition of the airways marked by coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing due to inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Asthma is usually driven by allergies or other environmental triggers such as smoke and dust mites.
- Bronchoalveolar Carcinoma (BAC) is a rare form of lung cancer that usually affects the bronchi and alveoli in the lungs. It may be caused by long-term exposure to certain chemicals, radiation therapy for another type of cancer, or smoking.
- Bronchitis from allergies is a common condition and can have many of the same symptoms as other types of bronchitis, such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Allergies are caused by an immune system’s reaction to specific environmental allergens or irritants. Properly managing your allergies can help reduce your risk of developing bronchitis. Treatment strategies may include avoiding exposure to triggers, taking medications to reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways, or using immunotherapy (allergy shots). You must visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you think you may have bronchitis from allergies.
Bronchitis Symptoms in Adults
One of the most common bronchitis symptoms in adults is a persistent cough that produces mucus or phlegm. Other symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Sometimes, wheezing or a whistling sound may be heard when the person breathes in. Properly managing your condition with your doctor’s help can reduce your risk of developing more serious respiratory infections or complications. If you experience these symptoms, you must visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Treatment may include medication to reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways, antibiotics (for bacterial infections), inhalers or other drugs to open the airways, rest, and avoiding irritants such as smoke and dust mites.
Bronchitis vs Bronchiolitis
Bronchitis vs bronchiolitis are both respiratory diseases that affect the lungs, but they are not the same condition. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi (the central airways leading to the lungs), usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
On the other hand, bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the small airways (bronchioles) in the lungs, usually caused by a virus.
Both conditions can be severe if left untreated or unmanaged properly, so you must visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Proper management and care can help reduce your risk of developing more serious respiratory infections or complications.