Bronchitis comes in two varying forms of severity: chronic and acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis describes a viral infection in the lungs’ bronchial passage, which typically induces symptoms ranging from mild to moderate. Meanwhile, chronic bronchitis – while also originating in the lungs’ bronchial passage – is a long-term illness that severely worsens patients’ quality of life.
When the lungs’ bronchial passage gets inflamed, it narrows the passageway where air enters and exits the lungs, making it difficult to breath, which then triggers heavy coughing. Viral infections are what initially cause this swelling in the body’s respiratory system. The majority of healthy adults shouldn’t fear bronchitis too much, seeing as their immune system should be capable of killing the virus. However, smokers have a far more difficult time fighting off the infection, seeing as smoking damages an organelle called cilia, which is responsible for cleaning bacteria and mucus out of the lungs. Smokers therefore have a higher tendency to develop chronic bronchitis, seeing as this repeated trauma to their lungs weakens it to the point that its cilias no longer have the strength to keep out unwanted bacteria and viruses.
People experiencing chronic bronchitis may have difficulty breathing for the remainder of their lives, making it extremely tough to exercise or perform other healthy operations the body needs to function properly. Even patients experiencing acute bronchitis may want to seek medical advice if they’re afraid that they’re susceptible to developing chronic bronchitis. Here at AFC Doctors Express Urgent Care Southcenter, we have the resources to diagnose and then, if necessary, treat patients’ bronchitis. Untreated or lingering bronchitis illnesses may lead to pneumonia, which is a lung infection that leads to debilitating symptoms such as vomiting, chills and chest pains.
This is why it’s important to seek treatment, or at the very least – advice if you think you or somebody in your family has bronchitis. If our physicians deem a patient’s bronchitis is severe enough that it warrants medication, they can administer the necessary medication to eradicate the virus that’s causing bronchitis. In most cases, however, our physicians will just recommend our patients drink lots of fluids, eat healthy and get plenty of rest. Also, if smoking seems to be the cause of bronchitis, our physicians can also direct patients to programs or medications that will assist in their efforts to quit smoking.
For bronchitis diagnosis and treatments, walk in to our facility any day of the week and one of our physicians will be happy to accommodate you! For more information call us at 425.291.3300.