Acute bronchitis usually clears up on its own, but chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that isn’t curable and can cause ongoing lung damage. As a specialist in pulmonary conditions, Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, works closely with patients who have bronchitis, providing comprehensive care that helps protect their lungs for the long term. If you develop a persistent, mucus-producing cough, call one of the offices in Beverly Hills and Inglewood, California, or schedule an appointment online.
Air enters each lung through a large bronchial tube, and then inside your lungs, the tube branches out into smaller airways called bronchioles. When any of these large- and moderate-sized airways become inflamed, you have bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis develops from the same viruses that cause colds and the flu. Symptoms appear suddenly and the infection usually gets better on its own within 10 days. You may develop a bacterial infection in addition to the viral infection, but this affects fewer than 10% of all patients.
Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions included under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though it’s caused by inflammation, chronic bronchitis can’t be cured. The top cause is smoking, but you can also develop the condition from inhaling air pollution, dust, or toxic gases.
In acute and chronic bronchitis, your airways produce excess mucus and cause symptoms such as:
If you have acute bronchitis, your cough may last for several weeks after the infection clears up. A cough that produces discolored mucus is a sign you developed a bacterial infection.
You’re diagnosed with chronic bronchitis when you have a mucus-producing cough that lasts at least three months and reappears over the course of at least two years.
Most cases of acute bronchitis heal on their own after the viral infection runs its course. In the meantime, it’s important to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take an over-the-counter cough suppressant and pain reliever, if necessary. If your symptoms are severe, Dr. Sima may prescribe inhaled medication to open your airways.
Treatment for chronic bronchitis requires a long-term plan because your airways stay inflamed and airway obstruction can get progressively worse over the years. If you smoke, the first step is to stop smoking.
Dr. Sima understands that breaking a smoking habit is difficult because your brain becomes dependent on nicotine. He works with you, prescribing medications and helping you find ongoing support.
Depending on the severity of your chronic bronchitis, you may need treatment such as:
When chronic bronchitis reaches an advanced stage, there are several surgical options, but Dr. Sima’s goal is to provide ongoing care that maintains your lung health and prevents severe progression.
To get expert care for bronchitis, call Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, or schedule an appointment online.