Chronic bronchitis is the severe inflammation of the bronchi (airways) in the lungs, and causes symptoms, like cough with sputum, wheezing, and breathing problems. Let us take a look at the various treatment options for this disease.
Chronic bronchitis is the irritation and inflammation of the airways in the lungs. This inflammation leads to the formation of thick mucus in these airways (bronchial tubes). Recurrent infections cause accumulation of mucus, which blocks the airways, causing breathing difficulties. Other symptoms include persistent cough with sputum, and wheezing. In people, who are affected with chronic bronchitis, these symptoms persist for longer durations, and recur many times in a year. Smoking is the most common cause of this disease, and includes second-hand smoking too. Chronic bronchitis causes include bacterial or viral infections, allergies, and environmental pollution.
Chronic bronchitis can affect people of all ages, but is commonly found in women, and those who are above the age of 45. The condition is treated with oral medication, bronchodilators, oxygen supplementation and lifestyle changes. In some rare cases, surgery is also suggested. Lung reduction surgery is done in some patients, to remove the damaged parts of the lungs. Lung transplantation may also be recommended, in some severe cases. The course of treatment is decided as per the age of the affected person, the severity of the disease, and the overall health condition of the patient. The main aim of the treatment of this disease is to relieve the symptoms and prevent further complications.
- Bronchodilator medicines are prescribed to dilate the air passages of the lungs, and to reduce inflammation. Such medicines are available in the form of aerosol sprays or oral drugs.
- In some cases, steroids are used to reduce the severity of symptoms. Used as aerosol sprays for inhalation, these medicines may cause side-effects like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Respiratory infections are common in people affected with chronic bronchitis. Antibiotics are useful in fighting such infections.
- The condition can cause difficulty in breathing, and some patients may require supplemental oxygen. Nowadays, many devices are available for this purpose, and some of them can be used at home too.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation, which is part of the overall treatment plan, includes breathing exercises, education of the patient, incorporating exercise programs, and nutrition counseling. Studies show that regular physical activity is very much beneficial for people affected with chronic bronchitis.
It is also observed that some vaccines may prevent frequent bouts of infection. An annual vaccine against flu, and a pneumonia vaccine in every five to seven years, may prove beneficial. It is very important to quit smoking to prevent further complications.
Chronic bronchitis can be prevented by avoiding allergens, like dust and smoke. Prevent viral infections by maintaining personal hygiene and by staying away from people with cold and flu. Early diagnosis and treatment can cure this disease to some extent. Hence, it is very important to seek medical advice at the earliest, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of chronic bronchitis.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.