What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis happens when the bronchial tubes, the tubes in your body that carry air to your lungs, become swollen or infected. Bronchitis is common and usually happens when someone gets a cold or the flu. While a cold or the flu can be successfully battled in a matter of weeks, bronchitis can linger for a lot longer, though you can get bronchitis other ways too. There are two main forms of bronchitis, acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is more common than chronic bronchitis and lasts only a couple of weeks. Chronic bronchitis, which happens when the bronchitis constantly returns, is a little more serious and can lead to another pulmonary disorder, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Symptoms of Bronchitis

The symptoms of bronchitis may include shortness of breath, congested or “clogged” chest, wheezing, and coughs with lots of phlegm. Bronchitis may also induce flu-like symptoms including body aches, chills, sore throat, and a runny or stuffy nose. If these symptoms persist for more than three weeks or if you experience symptoms like coughing up blood or unexplained weight loss, it’s best to call a doctor. El Paso Pulmonary Association can help.

Bronchitis Diagnosis

To determine if you have bronchitis rather than another kind of respiratory issue, we’ll run a series of tests to properly diagnose you. We’ll administer blood tests, take chest x-rays, and perform a lung function test, which assesses numerous things, including how much air you’re able to breathe in and how you react to a methacholine challenge test. A methacholine challenge test is commonly used on adults to determine if they have asthma, but can also be used to assess bronchitis. The test administers methacholine, which causes your airway to spasm. Your body’s reaction can indicate whether you have bronchitis or not.

Bronchitis Treatment

Once it’s determined that you have either acute or chronic bronchitis, we can treat it. Oftentimes, acute bronchitis goes away on it’s own. When you have chronic bronchitis, we treat it by determining the cause. If it’s being caused by bacteria, it can be treated with antibiotics. Steroids and oxygen therapy, a treatment that gives you more oxygen to breathe, can help as well. A common treatment is pulmonary rehabilitation. This includes exercise regimens, nutritional counseling, education, and support.

Call El Paso Pulmonary Association Today!

If you need help treating your bronchitis, El Paso Pulmonary Association is here to help. We’re dedicated to helping our patients feel better as quickly as possible. Call us today for more information!