At first you may think you have a cold or the flu, but if you have a mucus-producing cough that just won’t go away, chances are you have bronchitis. As a pulmonary specialist, Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD, offers comprehensive care for bronchitis, whether you need temporary symptom relief or a more intensive plan for chronic bronchitis, which is a form of COPD. If you have questions about your symptoms, call the office in Las Vegas or book an appointment online.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways in your lungs. Your airways begin with a large bronchial tube that enters your lung. Once inside your lungs, this large tube branches out into progressively smaller tubes, ending in very narrow tubes called bronchioles. It’s estimated that each lung has about 30,000 bronchioles. All of these airways can become inflamed when you have bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis is short-lived, while chronic bronchitis persists throughout your lifetime. They also have different causes:
This illness is most often caused by the same viruses responsible for the flu or a common cold. Less frequently, you may have an acute case of bronchitis after exposure to dust, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, or air pollution.
Chronic bronchitis, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a serious, long-term lung condition. When you have chronic bronchitis, small airways stay inflamed and produce mucus. This condition is almost always caused by smoking.
Acute and chronic bronchitis cause symptoms such as:
When you have acute bronchitis, your symptoms improve in a week or two, although your cough may stick around a little longer after the infection heals.
Chronic bronchitis is defined as a mucus-producing cough that lasts several months and comes back two or more years in a row. This type of bronchitis gets progressively worse over the years.
Acute bronchitis heals on its own, and since it’s a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help. However, Dr. Willoughby can recommend or prescribe medications that give you some relief from symptoms like your cough and pain.
Chronic bronchitis requires a long-term treatment plan that relieves your symptoms, supports your ability to breathe, and helps prevent or slow down the disease progression.
If you smoke, the most effective way to prevent bronchitis from worsening is to stop smoking. Dr. Willoughby may also prescribe a bronchodilator to open your airways, as well as oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation.
Whether you need symptom relief for acute bronchitis or ongoing medical care for chronic bronchitis, schedule an appointment online or call Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD.