Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.

Often developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very common. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is a constant irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking.

Acute bronchitis, also called a chest cold, usually improves within a week to 10 days without lasting effects, although a cough may linger for weeks. However, if you have repeated bouts of bronchitis, you may have chronic bronchitis, which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

SYMPTOMS

For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:

Cough– Cough is a common complaint when seeing the doctor, especially during cold and flu season. A chronic cough can also be a sign of poor asthma control. In asthma, a nighttime cough is more than twice per week may mean you need to step up to your doctor.

Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with blood

Fatigue- Fatigue is a subjective feeling of tiredness that has a gradual onset.  it is a subjective feeling reported by the patient.

Shortness of breath- This is the feeling of breathlessness and inability to catch your breath that you may experience with asthma. This classic symptom can be experienced before diagnosis or be a sign of poor asthma control. Shortness of breath is never normal, but it is also not unexpected with very strenuous exercise or travel to high altitude. This difficult breathing may refer as air hunger or the sensation of not being able to catch your breath.

Slight fever and chills

Chest discomfort– Patients generally describe it as the very uncomfortable feeling of air not moving in their lungs. Patients say “I just feel tight” for many patients this causes a significant amount of anxiety as they think they will be unable to adequately breathe.

If you have acute bronchitis, you might have cold symptoms, such as a mild headache or body aches. While these symptoms usually improve in about a week, you may have a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks.

Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months, with recurring bouts occurring for at least two consecutive years. If you have chronic bronchitis, you’re likely to have periods when your cough or other symptoms worsen. At those times, you may have an acute infection on top of chronic bronchitis.

CAUSES

Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause colds and flu (influenza). Antibiotics don’t kill viruses, so this type of medication isn’t useful in most cases of bronchitis.

The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition.

RISK FACTORS

Factors that increase your risk of bronchitis include:

Cigarette smoke– People who smoke or who live with a smoker are at higher risk of both acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Low resistance-This may result from another acute illness, such as a cold, or from a chronic condition that compromises your immune system. Older adults, infants, and young children have a greater vulnerability to infection.

Exposure to irritants on the job. Your risk of developing bronchitis is greater if you work around certain lung irritants, such as grains or textiles, or are exposed to chemical fumes.

Gastric reflux- Repeated bouts of severe heartburn can irritate your throat and make you more prone to developing bronchitis.

DIAGNOSIS

Spirometer

During the first few days of illness, it can be difficult to distinguish the signs and symptoms of bronchitis from those of a common cold. During the physical exam, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen closely to your lungs as you breathe.

In some cases, your doctor may suggest the following tests:

Chest X-ray- A chest X-ray can help determine if you have pneumonia or another condition that may explain your cough. This is especially important if you ever were or currently are a smoker.

Sputum tests- Sputum is the mucus that you cough up from your lungs. It can be tested to see if you have illnesses that could be helped by antibiotics. Sputum can also be tested for signs of allergies.

Pulmonary function test- During a pulmonary function test, you blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures how much air your lungs can hold and how quickly you can get air out of your lungs. This test checks for signs of asthma or emphysema.

HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT

ACONITUM NAPELLUS

Aconite will often prevent the development of a thorough bronchitis. Aconite is prescribed in bronchitis to the onset of the affection. It is caused by  as a result of checked perspiration, exposure to cold, drafts or dry, cold winds . The complaint starts with a coryza , frequent sneezing. chilliness,restless sleep,full,hard pulse, and the characteristic mental condition like anxiety and restlessness

BRYONIA ALBA

Bryonia Alba is the top Homeopathic medicine for treating Bronchitis and is mainly used when the cough is dry. Mucus if present is very difficult to cough out and maybe rust colored. Bryonia Alba can also prove very useful for the treatment of severe chest pains during coughing. The patient usually feels relieved by taking rest and gets worse on the motion. The patient may show an increased thirst for large quantities of water.

PHOSPHORUS 

Phosphorus is another very beneficial Homeopathic medicine for patients of Bronchitis. The patient mainly has a hard and dry cough. The cough is renewed by laughing and talking. Cold air usually worsens the cough. Excessive heat in the chest could be another accompanying symptom. The patient at times complains of tightness, heaviness, and oppression of chest, along with chest pains. The mucus when expectorated may be blood-stained. The patient may also have a craving for cold drinks, ice cream, and juices.

ANTIMONIUM TART

Antimonium Tart is a very effective natural remedy for Bronchitis that is mainly prescribed when the bronchial tubes are overloaded with mucus. The mucus rattles in the chest. The mucus is not coughed out with ease and if it does cough out, the quantity is meager. Homeopathic medicine Antimonium Tart is of great help in emptying the bronchial tubes by aiding the expectoration of the mucus present in bronchial tubes. The respiratory troubles after exposure to damp places frequently call for use of this natural Homeopathic remedy.

SPONGIA

The cases of Bronchitis that can be treated wonderfully with Homeopathic medicine Spongia are the ones presenting with dry cough and complete dryness of air passages. There is a total absence of any mucus rales in the chest. Mainly warm drinks provide relief to the patient. The patient also at times complains of chest oppression, weakness, and difficulty in breathing.

IPECAC 

Ipecac is the top Homeopathic remedy for Bronchitis with a constant cough and rattling of mucus in chest. Even constant coughing does not seem to help in expelling the mucus from bronchi. Ipecac helps in expelling the mucus out with the least effort. An important feature for using this Homeopathic medicine in Bronchitis is vomiting with coughing providing some relief to the patient.