Biaxin - A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
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Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages between the nose and the lungs, including the windpipe, or trachea, and the larger air tubes called bronchi that bring air into the lungs from the trachea. When bronchitis is mild and brief in duration, it is called acute. Chronic bronchitis is recurrent, has a prolonged course, and is often a sign of a serious underlying lung disease. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the breathing airways accompanied by coughing and spitting up of phlegm.
It can be caused by exposure to a cold or the flu, infection, or irritants. Although the symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis are similar, their causes and treatments are different. Acute bronchitis is most common in winter. It usually follows an upper respiratory infection, and may be accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection. Acute bronchitis usually resolves within two weeks, although the cough may persist longer. Like any upper airway inflammatory process, acute bronchitis can increase a person's likelihood of developing pneumonia.
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Anyone can get acute bronchitis, but infants, young children, and the elderly are more likely to come down with the disease. Smokers and people with heart or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis shows symptoms similar to acute bronchitis, but it recurs and is present for at least three months a year.
Acute bronchitis usually begins with the symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing , and dry cough. Chronic bronchitis is caused by inhaling respiratory tract irritants; it may also be due to recurrent bouts of acute bronchitis. The most common cause, however, is the irritation of cigarette smoke. The cells that line the respiratory system contain fine, hair-like outgrowths called cilia.
When smoke or other irritants are inhaled or when there is irritation from repeated dry coughing, the cilia become paralyzed or snap off and the airways become inflamed, narrowed, and clogged. A mild cough is usually the first visible sign of chronic bronchitis. Coughing brings up phlegm, and wheezing and shortness of breath may accompany the cough. The physician will do chest examination with a stethoscope for specific sounds that indicate lung inflammation and airway narrowing. The doctor may do a chest x ray, an electrocardiogram ECG , and blood tests as well.
Other tests may be used to measure how effectively oxygen and carbon dioxide are being exchanged in the lungs. There are a multitude of botanical and herbal medicines that can be used to treat bronchitis. Examples from aromatherapy include essential oils of any of the following: benzoin, Styrax benzoin; camphor, Cinnamomum camphora; eucalyptus , Eucalyptus globulus; lavender , Lavandula officinalis; pine, Pinus sylvestris; sandalwood, Santalum album; or thyme , Thymus vulgaris.
Any one or combination of these oils should be added to water and inhaled in a warm steam. They can also be dabbed on to a cloth, and the aroma can be breathed in deeply through the nose. A mixture of the essential oils of clove, Eugenia aromaticum; cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum; lemon balm , Melissa officianalis; and lavender, Lavandula officinalis , is reported to be particularly effective when taken as a steam inhalation. Herbalists recommend taking a tea, syrup or tincture of any of the following: mullein , Verbascum thapsus; coltsfoot , Tussilago farfara; aniseed, Pimpinella anisum; hyssop , Hyssopus officinalis; elecampane, Inula helenium; and garlic , Allium sativum.
The Chinese herb ephedra , also called ma huang or Ephedra sinica , may be recommended as long as heart disease or high blood pressure is not a problem. Ephedra is only used in herbal combinations and when coughing and wheezing are present. There are many remedies in traditional Chinese medicine for coughing and phlegm. Recommended homeopathic remedies include Aconite 6c, Kali bichromicum 6c, and Phosphorus 6c. Acupuncture can be useful in preventing chronic bronchitis attacks and in resolving colds that lead to acute attacks.
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For a mild case of acute bronchitis over-the-counter remedies of homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda are widely available and quite helpful. Practitioners of these disciplines can be very effective and should be consulted in dealing with more severe or chronic cases. Hydrotherapy and massage with tapping and cupping is also recommended in bronchitis to loosen mucus, improve breathing, and heighten the immune response to the condition. The juice of a lemon squeezed into a cup of water should be consumed to clear out mucus.
Hot, spicy foods can help open the air passages. These foods include garlic, onions, chili peppers, and horseradish, and should be consumed liberally. Aspirin should not be given to children because of its association with seizures in children. Cough syrups are recommended to reduce coughing, soothe irritation, and increase expectoration of mucus. It is important for mucus to be cleared from the lungs.
The use of cough suppressants should be limited because when coughing is suppressed, the mucus accumulates in the plugged airways and may become a breeding ground for pneumonia bacteria. If the patient is coughing up phlegm, the cough should be allowed to continue to bring up mucus and irritants from the lungs. Cough medicines with expectorants may, therefore, be helpful. Expectorant cough medicines are used to thin the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up and expel.
If a secondary bacterial infection is present, the infection may be treated with an antibiotic. However, in , a new study showed that antibiotics really don't do anything to help acute bronchitis. The drug is mostly prescribed to make the physician and the patient feel like they are "doing something. Drug therapy uses bronchodilators to relax the muscles of the bronchial tubes and allow increased airflow. Medications are also given to reduce the quantity of mucus.
A one-time pneumonia vaccination may also be recommended. In , a new drug therapy was approved to treat chronic bronchitis, as well as other pulmonary diseases. Called Severent Diskus, or salmeterol, it is a long-acting bronchodilator that can be inhaled twice a day and will last for 12 hours. It works well for patients with the chronic form of bronchitis, but is not intended for use in acute episodes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic bronchitis, and the disease can often lead to or coexist with emphysema. On the whole, all forms of COPD are a leading cause of death. Smokers are 10 times more likely to die of COPD than non-smokers.
Other preventative steps include avoiding chemical and environmental irritants, such as air pollution , and maintaining good overall health. Supplementation with vitamins A, C, and E, zinc and bioflavonoids may also be helpful in preventing recurrence and secondary infections.
Dairy products, sugar foods and eggs should be avoided, as they may increase the tendency to form mucus in the lungs. The Burton Goldberg Group. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Washington: Future Medicine Publishing, The Editors of Time-Life Books. VA: Time-Life, Inc. Mechcatie, Elizabeth. Tiep, Brian L. Paradox, Patience; Odle, Teresa " Bronchitis. Paradox, Patience; Odle, Teresa "Bronchitis.
Bronchitis is inflammation of the walls that line the tube-like bronchial passages bronchi, bronchioles that carry air in and out of the lungs. Inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the lungs means that the lining of the bronchials mucous membrane is swollen and tender, usually occurring after an acute cold or respiratory infection in the nasal passageways, sinuses, or throat. Bronchitis occurs most often as a single illness acute bronchitis , but it can sometimes become chronic bronchitis in which the inflammation occurs several months during the year for at least two consecutive years.
Smoking cigarettes or being frequently exposed to other irritants may cause acute bronchitis to develop into a chronic condition.
In both acute and chronic bronchitis, inflammation is accompanied by infection, resulting in reduced airflow and causing a cough. The source of infection can be bacterial or viral. Acute bronchitis can usually be treated effectively in people who are otherwise healthy.
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Chronic bronchitis is a more serious and potentially long-term illness in which the individual will have a mucus-producing cough for most days in three or four months out of each year. It may act like a cold that will not clear up, but the inflammation gradually scars the lining of the bronchi and bronchioles so that mucus production is continuous and the condition develops again and again. As a result the walls that line the bronchial tubes become thicker, reducing airflow and causing constant inflammation, mucus production and coughing. This may become the permanent condition of the lungs, especially in smokers.
Chronic bronchitis may also lead to emphysema , a condition that reduces the lungs' ability to exhale air. Both chronic bronchitis and em-physema are classified as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD and often occur together. Acute bronchitis occurs commonly among people of both sexes and all ages, with as many as 34 million doctor visits each year by people seeking care for bronchitis or upper respiratory infection URI.
More than 12 million individuals are reported to have chronic bronchitis. Among adults, chronic bronchitis occurs twice as often in men than in women and most often in smokers. Breathing respiration is the main function of the lungs on either side of the chest, each composed of lobes, three in the right lung and two in the left. They exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide , bringing in oxygen from the outside environment into the blood, and releasing carbon dioxide from blood that has circulated. Between the lungs is a central airway, the trachea, which then branches into the two larger bronchi that lead into each lung and divide again into smaller bronchi called bronchioles.
Finally, the branching ends in small tube-like passages, the terminal bronchioles, which are composed of air-filled sacs alveolar sacs that contain even smaller air sacs alveoli that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide through tiny blood vessels surrounding them. Moisture levels inside the lungs make it a perfect environment for bacterial growth, one of the reasons for development of bacterial and viral infections in lungs that are compromised by disease.
Acute bronchitis usually follows a cold or viral infection, especially flu virus, and typically lasts no more than six weeks. In acute bronchitis, passageways that are inflamed during an infection return to normal fairly quickly in normally healthy individuals after the infection is treated. However, acute bronchitis can become worse or recur if the individual smokes.
The first symptom of acute bronchitis after having a cold or upper respiratory infection will be a sore throat that leads to a cough, either dry or with coughing up of sputum. Symptoms may also include tightness in the chest and some mild difficulty breathing. Usually there is no fever and symptoms subside in a week or so, except for a lingering cough. Smoking cigarettes is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis.
When someone smokes, bronchitis recurs frequently, becoming a chronic condition because the lining of the bronchial tract is continuously. Likewise, when chronic bronchitis is accompanied by smoking, the lining of the bronchial tract stays inflamed and small fibers cilia that normally move irritants and mucus out of the passage-ways stop functioning.
Because the lungs are then filled with mucus most of the time, they are more subject to bacterial and viral infections. This cycle of inflammation and infection can cause permanent damage to the lungs and severely limit lung function. At this point the condition becomes chronic obstructive lung disease COPD , which requires regular medical care and treatment to help maintain lung function. Other irritants that may cause chronic bronchitis include environmental pollutants e.
Chronic cough is the most noticeable symptom of chronic bronchitis. Symptoms will also include coughing up expectoration of significant amounts of sputum, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Sputum is typically thick, yellow to green, and may have tinges of blood. Coughing and expectoration are worse on arising from sleep. Breathing difficulty may be worse after physical activity.
The most characteristic pattern includes severe colds and upper respiratory infections, especially in cold weather months, followed by periods of sputum-producing cough with difficult breathing. Several months may pass before another acute infection occurs, but coughing persists in between.
Symptoms become progressively worse with each year. A comprehensive history will be taken by the doctor, including childhood illnesses such as asthma , injuries, and medications taken; use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco; and any known pattern of coughs, colds or flu followed by a lasting cough. The doctor may ask if anyone in the family has a history of lung disease.
Examination of nose, sinuses and throat may reveal signs of recent infection or irritation. A stethoscope may reveal wheezing or crackling sounds in the chest related to excess production of mucus. If sputum is present, it will be tested for the presence of blood and cultured to identify the presence of specific types of bacteria. Testing for viruses may be done as well. Blood tests , including complete blood count and blood chemistries, may be done to investigate overall health, immune system status, and presence of other possible diseases or conditions.
Pulmonary function tests will be performed to measure air volume released by the lungs forced expiratory volume or FEV and air capacity of the lungs forced vital capacity or FVC. X rays may also be ordered to check for increased lung volume, which can occur due to inflation of the lungs. The heart may also be enlarged in individuals with advanced chronic bronchitis.
In acute bronchitis, the only treatment is to relieve symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed as well a decongestants and drugs to thin bronchial secretions and assist in removing material from the lungs expectorant. Antibiotics are only given when an individual does not respond to treatment of symptoms and when specific bacteria have been identified in sputum. For chronic bronchitis, the most important treatment for smokers is to stop smoking. Doctors will often recommend nicotine patches or counseling to help an individual stop smoking.
Otherwise, specific treatment is not usually effective. Antibiotics may be given when acute flare-ups of infection occur and specific bacterial causes have been identified. Drug therapy may be used to reduce bronchial secretions and reduce inflammation in the airways. Medications may be given by nebulizers that allow. Types of medication will differ from patient to patient, depending on which medication produces the best response.
Sometimes inhaled steroids corticosteroid drugs are most effective in reducing inflammation in the bronchial passages, helping to reduce secretions and improve breathing. Corticosteroids have numerous side effects in some individuals, however, including osteoporosis , obesity and problems with glucose sugar metabolism.
If side effects can be controlled, inhaled steroids can continue to be used to relieve symptoms. In advanced cases, regular testing of oxygen levels may be necessary to determine if oxygen administration should be part of treatment, either at night only or continuously. Acute bronchitis in otherwise healthy individuals is usually short-term. Chronic bronchitis is long-term, with progressive worsening of symptoms.
Respiratory failure can occur in chronic bronchitis that has become severe obstructive lung disease, resulting in a life-threatening situation. Prevention Although any adult can develop acute bronchitis due to colds or flu, preventing repeated infections in the bronchial tract from becoming chronic bronchitis is possible. Preventive measures include:. Bacterial culture —Planting samples of body fluids e. Bacteria will then be stained and identified to help select proper antibiotic treatment. Bronchi —Larger tubular divisions stemming from the main airway trachea into the lungs.
Bronchi help carry air to and from the lungs and branch into smaller tubular divisions of the lung. Corticosteroid drug —A medication that acts like a type of hormone cortisol produced by the adrenal gland of the body. Corticosteroids produced by the body stimulate specific types of functional activity. As a drug, a corticosteroid sometimes just called steroid provides extra cortisol, which helps treat infection or trauma to the body. Emphysema —A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD characterized by respiratory airspace enlargement that affects lung function and breathing ability.
Nebulizer —A device that holds and dispenses medications in mist-form. Nebulizers help deliver medication to break up congestion in airways or lungs and to improve breathing ability. Respiratory failure —Loss of lung pulmonary function, which can be an acute or chronic disturbance of breathing ability. An adult with acute bronchitis will not need special care. Individuals with chronic bronchitis may need assistance with nebulizers or other devices that dispense medications or oxygen. The caregiver must be especially alert to breathing difficulty and understand what actions to take if breathing becomes seriously labored.
If the individual has advanced chronic bronchitis, the caregiver must be aware of signs and symptoms of lung and heart failure and understand when to call for help since hospitalization may be needed. Cohen et al. Philadelphia: Mosby, Porter, ed. Available at www. Accessed Feb 1, Balch P A. Accessed Feb. Bronchitis pronounced brong-KIE-tis is an inflammation of the air passages between the nose and the lungs.
It affects the trachea pronounced TRAY-kee-uh , or windpipe, and the bronchi. The bronchi pronounced BRON-kee are air tubes through which air flows into and out of the lungs. Bronchitis can be either acute of brief duration or chronic longlasting. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It usually heals fairly quickly without complications. Chronic bronchitis is a sign of more serious lung disease.
It can often be slowed, but it cannot be cured. Acute and chronic bronchitis are both inflammations of the air passages. However, their causes and treatments are different.
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Acute bronchitis occurs most frequently during the winter. It often follows a viral infection, such as a cold see common cold entry or the flu see influenza entry , and may accompany a bacterial infection. A person who has acute bronchitis is usually better within two weeks. The cough that accompanies the disease may last longer, however. As with similar infections of the airways, pneumonia see pneumonia entry may also develop.
Anyone can get acute bronchitis. However, people with weak immune systems, such as infants and the elderly, are more prone to the disease. Smokers and people with heart or lung disease are also at higher risk for acute bronchitis, as are people who are exposed to chemical fumes or high levels of air pollution. Chronic bronchitis is a major cause of disability and death. The American Lung Association estimates that about fourteen million Americans suffer from the disease.
Like acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis is accompanied by severe coughing and spitting up of phlegm pronounced FLEM. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by the presence of these symptoms for a period of at least three months in each of two consecutive years. Chronic bronchitis develops slowly. As a result, the disease is seen more often among older people than among the young and middle-aged. Chronic bronchitis is caused by inhaling substances that irritate the trachea and bronchi.
The most common substance is cigarette smoke. The American Lung Association estimates that 80 to 90 percent of all cases of chronic bronchitis are caused by smoking. Until recently, chronic bronchitis occurred more frequently among men than women because traditionally more men smoked than women. That trend is changing and the number of women suffering from chronic bronchitis is also increasing. Other substances. It is caused by changes in the cilia pronounced SIL-ee-uh that line the trachea and bronchi. Cilia are fine, hair-like projections that wave back and forth, carrying mucus through the airways.
Smoke and other irritants can damage cilia, causing them to lose their ability to move mucus normally. The airways become narrow and clogged with mucus. The patient has difficulty breathing because he or she cannot get enough air into the lungs. Eventually chronic bronchitis leads to an even more serious and life-threatening disease, emphysema pronounced em-fi-SEE-muh; see emphysema entry. Acute bronchitis usually begins with cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and dry cough.
Phlegm and sputum are substances coughed up from the inflamed airways.
They include blood, mucus, dead cells, and other materials. The coughing may also be accompanied by wheezing. In simple cases of acute bronchitis, most symptoms disappear in three to five days. The cough remains and may continue for several weeks.