What is bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways of the bronchial tubes, specifically the lining of your bronchial tubes. Bronchial tubes are canals, or passages, into the lungs, which carry air. There is no actual gas exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide in this area, as the bronchial tubes carry the air to be exchanged into the body through the alveoli and the alveolar ducts into the capillaries. When the lining of these bronchial tubes becomes inflamed, then a person can feel discomfort in the chest area, and have difficulty breathing.
Types of bronchitis
Bronchitis may be either acute, or chronic. Let's take a look at the two types of bronchitis here.
Usually a case of acute bronchitis goes away by itself within 3-10 days. Acute bronchitis is typically caused by viruses, usually cold viruses that spread from your throat and/or nose that eventually reach your airways. Less common are acute bronchitis cases caused by bacteria. And, rarely are they caused by fungi.
Chronic bronchitis is just one of several chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as emphysema. During chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes are almost always inflamed, perhaps due to cigarette smoking, second hand cigarette smoking, dust in the air, chemicals, and other substances over a sustained period of time. What makes chronic bronchitis different from acute bronchitis is that it does not go away quickly. In fact, it is a condition that lasts significantly longer than acute bronchitis, and may never disappear all together. Chronic bronchitis is bronchitis that produces a cough with mucus for most days of the week for at least 3 months a year for 2 continuous years.
Bronchitis is a common respiratory illness, but what causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes? Continue reading to learn more about the causes of bronchitis here.