Around 9 million American adults develop bronchitis each year. Untreated bronchitis means more than just an annoying cough: It can develop into a chronic condition, or even pneumonia. With help from the Spring Valley Internal Medicine team in Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland, bronchitis doesn’t have to become a long-term health challenge. The team of dedicated specialists offers personalized diagnosis, treatment, and prevention for bronchitis and other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Bronchitis is a respiratory illness in which the bronchial tubes in your lungs become highly irritated. This irritation leads to swelling and triggers mucus production. Bronchitis often causes difficulty breathing, wheezing, and a pronounced cough.
There are two forms of bronchitis, acute and chronic.
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses or, less commonly, bacteria. You can develop acute bronchitis after a common cold or flu. Other possible causes include smoke, dust, and chemical fumes. Generally, acute bronchitis resolves with rest and, where needed, medication.
Chronic bronchitis is a recurrent form of the disease and is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s quite common in longtime cigarette smokers.
Your specialist may diagnose chronic bronchitis if your bouts of bronchitis last for three months or longer and recur multiple times during a two-year period.
The Spring Valley Internal Medicine team is fully equipped to treat both forms of bronchitis in patients ages 18 and older.
Both forms of bronchitis can cause the following symptoms.
With acute bronchitis, you're also likely to have coldlike symptoms, such as all-over body aches.
Your provider can generally diagnose acute bronchitis after you describe your symptoms. They listen to your lungs to check for a rattling noise that usually indicates this kind of bronchitis.
If you have recurring bronchitis, your specialist may also perform a chest X-ray, lung function tests, and other special tests to diagnose chronic bronchitis.
Your Spring Valley Internal Medicine provider may prescribe cough suppressant tablets or syrup if your cough is uncomfortable or painful. Antibiotics aren't effective for viruses, the most common cause of acute bronchitis; they may be prescribed if you have bacterial bronchitis.
If you have chronic bronchitis and are a smoker, it's vital that you stop. You may need bronchodilator medication to help you breathe better.
Pulmonary rehab often helps chronic bronchitis sufferers too. With pulmonary rehab, you learn breathing techniques and make lifestyle changes, like adding exercise to your daily routine or increasing your workouts.
If you’re sick of bronchitis, get help at Spring Valley Internal Medicine. Call either office or schedule an appointment online today.