Off all the factors that trigger bronchitis, smoking is the leading cause.
We all know about bronchitis as a respiratory problem in which the inner walls of the bronchial tubes are swollen. The bronchial tubes transport air from the windpipe to the lungs. When the bronchial tubes develop inflammation, the free flow of air in and out of the lungs takes a backseat. Restricted air flow leading to trouble in breathing is one of the most common consequences of bronchitis. Apart from breathing problems, bronchitis induces yellow phlegm producing cough, fatigue, and raises body temperature. Although this respiratory problem strikes both young and adults, not many are aware of its causes. It is discussed below:
Recent reports clearly indicate that most cases of bronchitis result due to smoking. In fact, smoking has become a major contributor in the rising incidences of bronchitis. Also called the smoker’s disease, bronchitis associated with smoking is long-lasting and does not go away so easily. It may last for two years even, and during this period, the bronchitis subsides and elevates at regular intervals. Many ask ‘how smoking leads to bronchitis’. Well, it is a known fact that inhaling tobacco everyday can eventually damage to any part of the respiratory system. Cigarettes are stuffed with tobacco, and so their inhalation irritates the bronchial tubes. This subsequently causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Exposure to passive smoking (second-hand smoke) daily also increases the chances of developing chronic bronchitis.
The influenza commonly referred to as flu, is a viral infection that can have a negative impact on the bronchial tubes. It is observed that bronchitis cases escalate dramatically during winter, because viral flu infection commonly affects people in this season. A person affected with seasonal flu typically experiences body aches, headaches, fatigue, chills, runny nose, and has a high body temperature. Unlike smoking, the influenza virus usually causes acute bronchitis, which means it lasts for a shorter period of time, and goes away as soon as the influenza virus completes its course.
Common cold too can become deadly and affect the bronchial tubes. This often happens when this viral infection is not managed properly. Common cold becoming severe can affect the bronchial tubes, eventually leading to bronchitis. So, even after nasal congestion and frequent bouts of sneezing have stopped, the person continues to cough frequently, which is indicating bronchitis.
Recent studies suggest that about 15-20% children are suffering from pollen allergy. Seasonal pollen allergy too can turn into bronchitis when necessary precautionary measures to control the symptoms are put on the back burner. No wonder, people who show allergic reactions from exposure to pollen, dust and mold, are predisposed to bronchitis.
Pneumonia, a common bacterial infection, can also cause bronchitis. Difficulty in breathing, chest discomfort, coughing and high fever, are commonly associated with pneumonia. Although the bacteria invades the lungs in pneumonia, the bronchial tubes may also show signs of inflammation. The reason being, the proliferation of bacteria in pneumonia can also affect the bronchial tubes, leading to bronchitis.
In today’s times, the deteriorating quality of air due to the release of gas and toxic chemicals into the atmosphere also increases the risk of bronchitis, in both children and adults. Industrial dusts and emission of smoke from vehicles are the ones that actually pollute the air. Inhaling this polluted air, which is common in developing and developed countries, can inflame the bronchial tubes, eventually causing respiratory problems like bronchitis.
Treatment of bronchitis involves the intake of certain medications that are prescribed depending upon what is actually causing the bronchitis. No matter what bronchitis medication is prescribed, smokers need to quit their unhealthy habit of lighting the cigarette. Tobacco smoke is bound to worsen bronchitis, and therefore smoking cigarettes has to be stopped immediately. Patients with chronic bronchitis should not hesitate or feel shy to wear masks whenever outdoors. This will minimize exposure to air pollutants, thereby helping to manage this condition more effectively.