Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bronchitis Chronic Overview

Another name for Bronchitis Chronic is Chronic Bronchitis.

What is chronic bronchitis?
A person with chronic bronchitis has swelling and irritation of the air passageways in the lungs. Chronic bronchitis occurs when the lungs are constantly exposed to an irritant in the air (usually smoking). This long-standing exposure causes the airways to swell and produce mucus, leading to the symptoms of bronchitis. Many people with chronic bronchitis also suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Bronchitis becomes chronic when the air passageways do not heal completely, and symptoms continue despite treatment.

What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?
People with chronic bronchitis have a chronic cough that lasts for at least 3 months out of the year. Other symptoms include chest pain, breathing difficulty with exertion, and wheezing. Symptoms are commonly triggered by activities, allergies, or environmental factors.

How does the doctor treat chronic bronchitis?
Treatment for chronic bronchitis includes avoidance of smoking and secondary smoke, antibiotics, and bronchodilator medications to reverse wheezing. Oral corticosteroids and inhaled corticosteroids are used in many patients with chronic bronchitis.

Continue to Bronchitis Chronic Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bronchitis Chronic References
  1. Brunton S, Carmichael BP, Colgan R, Feeney AS, Fendrick AM, Quintiliani R, Scott G. Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis: a primary care consensus guideline. Am J Manag Care. 2004 Oct;10(10):689-96. [1552116]
  2. Martinez FJ, Anzueto A. Appropriate outpatient treatment of acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. Am J Med. 2005 Jul;118(Suppl 7A):39S-44S. [15993676]
  3. Panpanich R, Lerttrakarnnon P, Laopaiboon M. Azithromycin for acute lower respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD001954. [15497172]
  4. Schmier JK, Halpern MT, Higashi MK, Bakst A. The quality of life impact of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB): a literature review. Qual Life Res. 2005 Mar;14(2):329-47. [1589242]
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