According to the American Lung Association, there are two types of bronchitis: chronic and acute. Acute bronchitis means the condition is brought on by an illness, such as a cold, and usually clears up in a week or two.
On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is defined as a mucus-producing cough that affects a person almost every day for at least three months of the year for two years straight. Only after meeting this criteria are you diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.
About Chronic Bronchitis
The American Lung Association points out that the disease sets in gradually. It’s often dismissed as merely smoker’s cough since people who smoke are most likely to develop the condition. After living with lung disease for some time, you might also contract emphysema. When found together in the same person, chronic bronchitis and emphysema are often called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Severity of Chronic Bronchitis
The longer you wait to have your symptoms checked out, the more damaged your lungs can become. Damaged lungs may put you at risk for developing life-threatening respiratory or heart problems, states the American Lung Association. The good news is chronic bronchitis can be found early and treated immediately to help manage the condition.
Causes of Chronic Bronchitis
The causes of chronic bronchitis vary, indicates the American Lung Association. Most people living with lung disease of this type are or were smokers. However, the airways can also become irritated by bacterial or viral infections, thus bringing on the condition in some non-smokers, as well. Others at high risk for chronic bronchitis include coal miners, metal molders and grain handlers, since these people are exposed to harmful industrial fumes and chemicals that can irritate the airways.
The best thing you can do if you think you have bronchitis is to talk to your doctor to learn more. For more information about living with lung disease, download the free guide, "COPD 101," today.