Getting To Know Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms

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The respiratory system is one of the most vital systems in our body… it is composed of the lungs, the upper and lower airways and nose and its accessory structures. We make use of our respiratory system 24/7 with most of our respiratory functions being involuntary. Thus, it is one of the most “overused” and “abused” (for smokers) systems of all time. And since the airways (both upper and lower) are continuously exposed to the atmosphere—it is most prone to catching diseases and one of the most common airway related diseases is bronchitis.

What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is basically an inflammation of the bronchial walls. The bronchus is the structure below the trachea (windpipe) and this is also where the bifurcation of the left and right bronchi starts. Like most parts exposed to the environment, the bronchus is also covered with mucus membranes for many purposes. One of which is to propel the bacteria and foreign materials away from the lungs to prevent further infections. Failure of the bronchial walls to expel these microorganisms and pathogens can lead to its inflammation which we call bronchitis.

Types of Bronchitis

Bronchitis comes in two main forms—one is chronic and the other is acute. The only difference between both is the time element wherein the latter is expected to last for a short period and the former is expected to persist for longer period, i.e. more than six months. This article will mainly focus on chronic bronchitis symptoms, its treatments and prevention methods:

Frequent Contraction of Cough/Colds/Flu. The weak lining of your bronchi makes it easily infected by diseases or conditions which may lead to chronic coughing, long lasting cough and colds, or recurrence thereof. Also, you may occasionally suffer from flu because of your condition.

Cyanosis. Since the bronchial walls are where air passes through, an inflammation of its linings can lessen the amount of air that can pass through. This leads to the inability of the blood to catch and pick up the optimum amount of oxygen it can carry leading to cyanotic spells, one of the common chronic bronchitis symptoms. Cyanosis is basically the bluish discoloration of the nail beds, fingers—extremities, for that matter. Also, it can be noticed and observed in the area around the mouth (circumoral cyanosis).

Labored Breathing. Since air is not efficiently delivered from the outside environment into the lungs, breathing may appear and sound labored. Thus, a person may appear as if he or she is catching his or her breath. Labored breathing, as one of the most manifested chronic bronchitis symptoms, may also manifest in the accessory muscles that a person uses while breathing like the neck muscles, the abdominal muscles, as well as the shoulders. A person with difficulty and labored breathing may get comfort when sitting upright or lying down with several pillows beneath her head.

Wheezing and Abnormal Respiratory Sounds. This is similar to how a person with asthma breathes since the pathophysiology of bronchitis and asthma are comparably similar. There is inflammation and thickness of the airways which may lead to small amounts of air getting in and out. Wheezes can be heard upon auscultation but in severe cases, even without the use of instruments, one can hear wheezes.

There are various treatment approaches for chronic bronchitis and all you need to do is seek your health care providers for their advice.




  1. [...] Signs (a) Vesicular breathe sound. (b) Bilateral sonorous rhonchus and coarse crepitations. [...]

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