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Bronchitis Definition

Bronchitis is the most common disease, that you will find around. Bronchitis is well-known inflammation of the medium-sized airways known as Bronchi in the lungs that can cause the problem of coughing. In the initial stage of Bronchitis, people generally start with an infection in the nose, ears, throat, or sinuses.

The infection is the main cause of bronchitis. These symptoms may cause coughing up sputum, wheezing, shortness of breath, as well as light chest pain or sometimes much chest pain. Bronchitis is often acute or chronic.

Bronchitis Definition

Definition of bronchitis

Bronchitis is a disease that happens when airways in the lungs, also known as Bronchial tubes, become inflamed and can cause coughing, usually while producing mucus. Bronchitis in a person can be short-term (acute) or long-term (Chronic).

Acute Bronchitis

It is one of the most common types of Bronchitis, and the symptoms stay for only a few weeks. Acute Bronchitis is also known as a Chest cold and in more than 90% of cases, the problems are created by the viral infection, as these viruses can be spread with the help of air when people cough or can be through direct contact. A small number of cases are due to a bacterial infection like mycoplasma pneumonia or Bordetella pertussis.

Risk factors include exposure to tobacco smoke, dust, and further air pollution. Acute Bronchitis is very common and about 5% of adults and 6% of children have a minimum of one episode every year and can be commonly seen around everywhere.

Chronic Bronchitis

It is a very severe kind of Bronchitis. The worst fact about this is that it keeps coming back or sometimes doesn't even go away even after a lot of treatments. People who have Chronic Bronchitis may also have COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease. It doesn't just happen suddenly or not so easily but mostly smokers and people with the genetics of this issue suffer from it in most cases. Although air pollution in some cases also plays a major role in causing it.

Symptoms of Bronchitis

There are many symptoms that may appear in both acute and chronic bronchitis they are as follows-

  • Chest Congestion, in which your chest may feel really full or even clogged.
  • Mucus while coughing, the colors may be transparent, White, yellow, or even green (rarely) of the mucus.
  • Sometimes difficulty or trouble breathing
  • While breathing you may feel wheezing or a sound like Whistling.

Apart from these symptoms, Bronchitis may also look like this-

  • Chills and severe pain in the entire body.
  • Very less fever
  • Feeling wiped out
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny nose


The major cause behind Acute bronchitis is generally due to airway inflammation from issues such as viral, cold, influenza, flu, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), or Covid 19 Viruses. Occasionally, a bacterial infection can also cause acute bronchitis.

To identify Chronic Bronchitis in patients with emphysema and asthma the best method is that they also get checked for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). There are various dangerous factors for chronic bronchitis:

  • People who smoke cigarettes or even smoke cigarettes with the help of someone else.
  • Someone who is older in age.
  • Someone who has issues with fumes or different kinds of dirt and dust.
  • Someone who has a COPD in genetics.
  • People who ever had a respiratory disease like Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, or even Bronchiectasis.
  • People who have GERD (also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

What is the correct time to see a doctor?

If you are having a cold for more than 15-20 days, it is better to reach out to your doctor as soon as possible, also if you feel your cold is getting worst or you are facing trouble breathing you should immediately meet the doctor.

In most cases, a doctor prefers to test your bronchitis and will perform physical exams, and may also concern about your medical history and symptoms.

If one feels the symptoms are unusual one may also ask for a blood test to make sure that they have no infection. Also, doctors may perform a chest X-ray which can help in knowing the condition of your lungs as well as bronchial tubes. These tests are also important to know and make sure that the patient is not having any other cough-related problems such as pneumonia, Covid 19, GERD, and Asthma.

There is also a chance that a patient may also have other problems such as high fever, very fast breathing, and an extremely high rate of heart which can lead to pneumonia or may suffer Asthma. Also, the reports say that 40 -45% of cases of bronchitis end up developing into Asthma.


Diagnosis is a process that tells about someone's troubles and symptoms they face during disease. Usually, doctors prefer Chest X-rays to understand the conditions of Bronchitis.

There are various different common signs of Bronchitis such as having a Cough for longer than 10 days or even more. But if someone has a cough for more than one month, it can be Chronic Bronchitis. Also, there is a chance that a person may have a fever. Also, these infections may have rhinovirus, adenovirus, Parainfluenza, or even Influenza. There is no specific test needed for the diagnosis of acute bronchitis.

Also, poor air quality may develop problems in the respiratory system with much higher levels of nitrogen dioxide and also sulfur dioxide increasing bronchial Symptoms. Sulfur Dioxide can also develop problems of inflammation that can trouble and increase chronic Bronchitis and make the infection much worse.

A most important fact to remember about Chronic Bronchitis is that it is a non-communicable disease and sometimes can simply be caused due to the extreme level of Air pollution at the place of work.


The best method to prevent Bronchitis is just by avoiding smoking or other factors which actually create trouble for the lungs. Also, a good habit of washing or sanitizing hands may help. The treatment of Acute bronchitis mainly consists of Rest, Paracetamol, Acetaminophen, and NSAIDs which can reduce the fever.

Also, there are a few Cough medicines that may provide a bit of relief but these medicines are not recommended for young kids or kids who are not at least seven years old. For people, who feel wheezing can use salbutamol, and even can result from anxiety or other issues. Doctors usually do not recommend Antibiotics, for the treatment of Bronchitis. Although there is an exception when Acute Bronchitis is just because of Pertussis.

There are also a few proofs that say the use of honey and pelargonium to treat symptoms is also helpful. Also when you take a good amount of rest and drink enough fluids it helps alleviate the disease. There are also a few Chinese medicinal herbs that may help people.

In chronic Bronchitis, if someone stops smoking there is a chance that the fall in the function of the lungs can get slower or even stop completely but there are a good amount of medicines and treatments which may be required to treat chronic bronchitis. Patients also may be required to take time to time oxygen therapies and Pulmonary Rehabilitation in the very worst case.

There may also be the use of different medicines and treatments for the patients of chronic bronchitis on the basis of worsening of symptoms or on the basis of improvement of the condition as the conditions are completely different for patients. To understand it in more easy words, Stable chronic Bronchitis is similar to the commonly defined symptoms of Chronic bronchitis and can be defined in the same way but in stable chronic bronchitis there may be a chance that from the previous four weeks, no acute exacerbation has appeared.

There are also a few reviews that say that during chronic bronchitis if the use of mucolytics is prescribed then the chance of development of exacerbation is very less. The mucolytics guaifenesin is a really secure as well as effective way to treat stable chronic bronchitis Although NICE usually recommends the use of Erdosteine as it possesses the qualities of antioxidants. And with the correct use of it, there is a chance that the risk of having exacerbations goes down in less amount of time.

For people who have COPD along with Chronic Bronchitis, a person can use phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor roflumilast to reduce the conditions. Although in any situation we do not recommend the use of any medicines without a proper doctor consultation or recommendation for any health issue or problem.


It is very important to remember that Acute level of Bronchitis is very common so there is no need to be stressed. Mainly in winter most people experience it on a large scale and have experienced it once every year. People usually visit the doctors and take medicines that are not even needed for them as Acute bronchitis usually doesn't stay for too long.

Chronic Bronchitis is not that common as it is only found among 3.4% to 21% of the common people. People who smoke a lot and are above 45 Years of age or even stay in a highly polluted area are more likely to get affected by such chronic bronchitis. Although according to the definition, chronic bronchitis usually affects people due to smoking or pollution still there is a good chance of nonsmokers getting affected by Bronchitis so it is better to meet a doctor immediately after you have seen any kind of symptoms and signs of the disease.

Also, the male population getting affected by chronic bronchitis more than the female population. However, someone who is continuously in contact with dust as well as genetics related to bronchitis may get it from time to time. No matter how badly people get affected by bronchitis, and how common it is the death percentage due to this condition is very less and rare.

History of Bronchitis

Although its been centuries since this condition first appeared and it has been impossible to tell the exact dates. There are various different cultures such as Ancient Greek, Indian as well as Chinese which mention it with different names but the condition and signs are same same. Initial treatment of chronic bronchitis also consists of garlic, Cinnamon as well as ipecac. Modern treatments were started after the mid-20th century.

The name "Bronchitis" was first used in 1808, in Britain by a well-known physician Charles Badham in his book named Inflammatory Conditions of the Bronchia. He was also the first one to call the acute form of Bronchitis as he defined all three forms of Bronchitis. Later another edition of the book was launched with the name "An Essay On Bronchitis and was published in the year 1814. Badham also preferred using the term "Catarrh" to explain the cardinal symptoms of chronic cough conditions and Mucus Hypersecretion of chronic bronchitis. He also described chronic bronchitis as a dangerous and disabling disorder.

Later in 1901, there was an article specially published on the treatment and cure of chronic bronchitis in the elderly and old people. Even at that time, all the symptoms were the same and remained the same but the reason behind them was mentioned as dampness, very cold weather, and even fog and this is why the cure was much focused on the treatment of cough, respiratory system care and various tonics for cough and fever. It was believed that the weather played a very important role in bronchitis.

In 1951 there was also a long joint research program in London as well as in Chicago which was concluded in 1953 where more than one thousand cases of chronic bronchitis were in a very detailed form. Later in 1953, these findings were published in Lancet. In the study, the main focus was all the described factors responsible like weather, conditions of the work environment as well as the home, ages, and illnesses found in kids people who have smoking habits, bad health, and breathlessness.

At that time it was also said that chronic bronchitis can also end up causing problems like emphysema, Asthma, and further respiratory problems if bronchitis stays untreated for too long. Later in 1957, the world was much more aware of bronchitis, and various examinations and tests was done on Chronic and acute Bronchitis, especially around workplaces where dust and pollutions are more like industries and fields work. Various experts were publishing articles about it and later in 1964, an important report was published by Charles Parson in which he described all the bad effects and harms that can create emphysema by Bronchitis. All the facts and discoveries were created after researching chronic bronchitis which was in pottery workers.

Other Types of Bronchitis

Although Acute and Chronic are two main types of Bronchitis, there are also a few other types of Bronchitis.

  • Eosinophilic Bronchitis

It is also a type of chronic Bronchitis in which a cough dries badly and the person starts to suffer because of this. The main cause behind it is the increased number of white blood cells and is also known as Eosinophils although it is not a major issue, it may lead you to major diseases or troubles. Eosinophil is also caused because of genetics most of the time.

  • Protracted Bacterial Bronchitis

Protracted Bacterial Bronchitis usually happens in younger children, it is defined as a Chronic Productive Cough and it has a very positive Bronchoalveolar lavage which has better effects with antibiotics. It is generally caused due to Streptococcus pneumonia, sometimes due to Haemophilus influenzae or Moraxella catarrhalis. Protracted Bacterial Bronchitis usually stays for more than four weeks (mainly in Kids) and can be treated with the help of Antibiotics.

  • Plastic Bronchitis

It is a very less common problem in which there are thickened secretions that start clogging the Bronchi. These are very rubber-like and plastic-like in nature which is the reason behind the name Plastic Bronchitis. There is a chance that in Asthma people may have short and soft plugs or even larger and very complex plugs which are firmer in nature. Not only asthma but these plugs of plastic bronchitis may also cause people heart diseases or lymphatic vessel issues due to the presence of eosinophils as well as the chariot-Leyden crystals but mostly in people with weak respiratory systems not in everyone.

These casts may get affected or hurdled by the airflow, this can also over inflammation in the major part of the lungs. Plastic Bronchitis is mostly found in small kids which makes it really dangerous. There is also a chance that due to issues in the Lymphatic vessel, plastic bronchitis may be developed.

  • Aspergillus Bronchitis

It is a kind of bronchitis in which one of the Aspergillosis spectra molds infects (mostly with fungal infection) the Bronchitis. But it is necessary to remember that it is completely different from the conditions which are known as pulmonary aspergillosis, and this is why it never affects the Immunocompromised.

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