A respiratory disease, bronchitis occurs when the lining of the bronchial tubes becomes inflamed. As the inflammation progresses, it affects the airways in the lungs, resulting in a phlegmy cough and breathlessness.
The disease may be acute (lasting from a couple of days to three weeks) or chronic (lasting a minimum of three months for two consecutive years). As our Long Beach specialists are among the best bronchitis doctors Los Angeles has to offer, we’re able to provide a definitive diagnosis and relief for both forms of bronchitis – improving your symptoms and restoring your quality of life.
Acute Bronchitis vs. Chronic Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is extremely common and typically develops after you’ve already had a cold or another infection. It will typically improve within a few days, though your cough may linger for a few weeks.
Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a much more serious condition. It occurs as the result of heavy irritation or inflammation, commonly due to smoking. Chronic bronchitis requires medical attention, as it is one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Whether you have acute or chronic bronchitis, the symptoms are the same, with the main difference being that the symptoms of chronic bronchitis are long-lasting, while those associated with acute bronchitis clear up very quickly. The most common symptoms associated with this condition are:
- Persistent cough
- Mucus production
- Fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
If you or your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment to be seen by one of our specialists. Not only will we ensure you receive the best bronchitis treatment Orange County has to offer, but we’ll also relieve your symptoms and ensure the function of your lungs is preserved moving forward.
Causes of bronchitis
The cause of your bronchitis will depend on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is typically caused by a virus associated with the common cold or flu. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is a history of smoking cigarettes, though exposure to air pollution, dust and toxic gases are also known to contribute to the disease.
In addition, certain individuals are more likely to develop both acute and chronic bronchitis due to their risk factors, which include:
Exposure to cigarette smoke
Individuals who smoke or live with a smoker are at a higher risk for developing acute and chronic bronchitis.
Infants, young children and older adults are more likely to suffer from acute bronchitis because they are more vulnerable to infection. In addition, suffering from a cold, the flu or a condition that impacts your immune system can increase the likelihood that you will develop acute bronchitis.
Exposure to toxic substances
If you have a history of exposure to chemicals and lung irritants, you’re more likely to suffer from bronchitis.
Acid reflux and heartburn
By irritating your throat, acid reflux and heartburn make you more likely to develop bronchitis.
How is bronchitis diagnosed?
Because bronchitis can be difficult to differentiate from the flu or a common cold, it’s important to seek a definitive diagnosis from one of the best bronchitis doctors Orange County has available at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles. During your appointment, we will begin by listening to your lungs as you breathe. If we hear anything that indicates bronchitis, we may then perform a number of additional tests, including:
This test will visualize your lungs and allow us to determine whether bronchitis or another condition is causing your symptoms. In the case of chronic bronchitis, it will also allow us to assess the damage to the lungs.
Pulmonary function test
During this test, we will measure your lung capacity and function by having you blow into a specialized device called a spirometer.
We may also test your sputum (the mucus you cough up) to determine if any other illness may be causing your symptoms.
How is bronchitis treated?
For patients seeking among the best bronchitis treatment Los Angeles has to offer, our specialists focus on relieving your symptoms and preventing damage to your lungs. As such, it’s important that you come in for a definitive diagnosis and medical treatment for any episode of bronchitis, to protect your lungs’ function moving forward and prevent any complications from developing.
With that said, the majority of acute bronchitis episodes will resolve in about two weeks. During that period, we may prescribe antibiotics, cough medicine or an inhaler to relieve your symptoms as you heal. You will also be advised to rest, increase your fluid intake, use a humidifier and avoid smoke and other potential irritants.
If you have chronic bronchitis, you will require ongoing treatment. In addition to using an inhaler to reduce inflammation, we may also recommend pulmonary rehabilitation with a respiratory therapist. This will teach you to breathe more easily and effectively, reducing your symptoms and restoring your quality of life. You’ll also be advised to receive a flu vaccine every year, avoid cigarette smoke and wash your hands regularly to prevent an infection that may develop into another bout of bronchitis.
If you or your child suffers from bronchitis, please know that relief is possible with expert care from our team of among the best bronchitis doctors Long Beach has available. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment, and let us help you control your symptoms, prevent future recurrences and protect the long-term function of your lungs.Contact Us