Bronchitis – Symptoms and causes

Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi. It can be acute or chronic. Acute and chronic are different in nature and last for a different time. Let’s know more about them.

Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi and bronchi are the passages that air travels through when you breathe in and out.  

Acute bronchitis – Short-term inflammation of bronchi triggered by an infection.

Chronic bronchitis – Long-term inflammation of bronchi caused by recurrent exposure to common triggers.

In acute and chronic bronchitis, the air passage is not wider and clear. Thus, the air is hindered in traveling in and out of the lungs. This is the reason why people having bronchitis may suffer from wheezing, and shortness of breath.


Acute bronchitis – Viral infections, bacterial infections, and fungal infections are the common causes of acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis may also result from recurrent short-term exposure to environmental inhalants such as fumes and chemicals. 

Chronic bronchitis – This develops slowly over time. Inflammation in the bronchi continues to build up when exposed to inhaled chemicals. Smoking is one of the most common causes of chronic bronchitis. Long-term exposure to harmful chemicals and toxic fumes could also lead to chronic bronchitis.

Cardiovascular conditions – There are consequences for the heart because of severe bronchitis. However cardiovascular symptoms don’t cause bronchitis but conditions like heart attack, and heart failure can worsen the symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis. 

Lifestyle risk factors – Chronic bronchitis is mainly because of lifestyle factors.

  1. Smoking – Cigarettes and bidis are still the most commonly smoked product. Tobacco-containing products, smoking causes damage to bronchi, inflammation, mucus build-up, and obstruction.
  2. Chemical inhalants – Frequent exposure to harmful chemicals inhalants and toxic fumes can cause bronchitis. People working in such areas or factories are advised to use proper protective gear and masks to minimize the danger. 
  3. Pollution – People living in highly polluted areas need to be extra careful. Here the polluted areas don’t mean only air pollution, it can be chemicals from a nearby factory, automobile fumes, waste materials, and other systemic issues.
  4. Urban environment – Urbanization, increasing pollution, factories waste, and high-level construction may put people at higher risk for bronchitis. Bronchitis cases are mostly seen in urban areas however it might be because of the fact that healthcare is easily accessible in these areas.

General Signs and symptoms of bronchitis

  • A dry cough and productive cough
  • Sinus congestion
  • Chest congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Chest discomfort from coughing

Acute bronchitis – Apart from general symptoms

  • Low-grade fever
  • Sneezing, runny nose
  • Sore throat

Chronic bronchitis – Other than common symptoms

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Persistent tiredness or coughing
  • Swelling in the ankle or leg

(Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional medical advice.  Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other health professionals for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.)

Tags : #Health #Bronchitis #Acutebronchitis #Chronicbronchitis #Coughing #SHortnessofbreath #Wheezing #Bronchitiscauses #bronchitissigns #Medicircle #SmitaKumar

About the Author

Renu Gupta

With a background in Pharmacy which is the clinical health science that links medical science with chemistry, I had the desire to mix creativity to these fields. Medicircle provides me an avenue to apply my training in science and interest in creativity together.

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