Bronchitis is a serious respiratory illness that may produce symptoms like coughing and congestion. Bronchitis can turn into pneumonia, especially if it's not treated promptly. At Alpha Internal Medicine in Fayetteville, Georgia, Dr. Betsy Horton and the expert team diagnose and treat bronchitis efficiently and quickly through oral medications, IV antibiotics, and other options as needed. Call today or schedule your appointment online using the online booking feature.
Bronchitis is a respiratory condition in which the mucus lining of the bronchial tubes becomes highly inflamed. As the mucus lining swells, it begins to limit airflow. This typically causes a severe cough, breathing problems, and tightness or pain in the chest.
The cause of bronchitis is typically a virus -- usually, the same type of virus that causes the common cold or the flu. This type of bronchitis is referred to as acute bronchitis. Another common cause of bronchitis is cigarette use. Chronic, long-term smokers are the most likely population to suffer from bronchitis. People who regularly are exposed to air pollution, dust, or toxic chemicals also may be more likely to suffer from bronchitis. This kind of bronchitis is called chronic bronchitis.
The most obvious indicator of bronchitis is a heavy cough. A bronchitis cough is usually quite deep and can cause considerable pain in the chest. The cough may be a dry one primarily, but mucus often comes up when a bronchitis sufferer coughs as well. Many people with bronchitis have breathing issues, so wheezing is not uncommon.
Diagnosis of bronchitis typically starts with a review of the patient's symptoms. Alpha Internal Medicine has an X-ray machine on-site to perform chest X-rays to confirm a diagnosis of bronchitis. Other tests may include blood work or a sputum test, which tests the mucus within the lungs.
Chronic bronchitis, the type that results from exposure to cigarettes, dust, air pollution, or other lung irritants, can't be passed to others. However, acute bronchitis, the kind that's caused by a virus, can be passed to other people.
The treatment for bronchitis varies based on whether the bronchitis is acute or chronic. With acute bronchitis, antibiotics aren't helpful because a virus caused the illness. Therefore, symptom relief is the focus. Cough syrup can help suppress a cough and anti-inflammatory drugs may help alleviate pain caused by acute bronchitis.
With chronic bronchitis, the focus is on making the lungs stronger and reducing inflammation. Treatment may include oral steroids, IV steroids as needed, bronchodilators, and other treatments.