Cause of Bronchitis and Tests Done To Determine It
The most common disease associated with respiratory system is bronchitis. It is often accompanied by a cold or flu and affects people regardless of age. If your immune system is weak or you are a chain smoker, then you are greatly exposed to develop chronic bronchitis. In few cases, developing asthmatic bronchitis is also possible.
Smoking is considered to be a serious cause of bronchitis which can lead to other complications like pneumonia. The substances found in cigarettes as well other tobacco causes bronchial tubes irritation. Environmental pollution and exposures to chemicals can also lead to developing chronic bronchitis. In addition, second-hand smokes as shown in some studies can also cause chronic bronchitis.
Mostly, chronic bronchitis is diagnosed among metal molders, grain handlers, coal miners, and other dust-related occupation. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis worsen if air pollutants and sulfur dioxide also increases.
However, bronchitis is brought about by viruses. Within a few days, these viruses may disappear without medications. If bacteria is the cause of bronchitis, then antibiotics is needed to completely overcome it.
Bronchitis can either be chronic or acute. Acute bronchitis generates extreme symptoms. It normally clears up immediately if viruses caused it. Chronic bronchitis produces milder symptoms but later on can aggravate. This is often persistent with recidivating character. Chronic bronchitis requires continuous treatment to prevent symptoms from recurring.
Bronchitis manifests different symptoms including coughs, breath shortness, soreness, discomfort, excessive mucus production, headache, wheezing, chest pain, and fever. Fever is present due to bacteria infections posing any possible complications.
Among the COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases) illnesses, bronchitis mostly affects more people. And despite its large affected population, it is usually misdiagnosed. Insufficient clinical examination can misinterpret bronchitis with allergies, asthma, and sinusitis.
The doctor will ask your medical background which includes pervious and recent smoking habits. Your endurance is also questioned whether or not it is easy for you to climb stairs or walk a long distance. Using a stethoscope, the doctor will examine your chest and back and listen to your normal breathing. In this way, signs of bronchitis can be determined.
However, the best way to confirm the presence and seriousness of bronchitis is to undergo PFT or pulmonary function tests. Keep in mind that these tests can be done if causes are known. It includes:
1. Spirometry. An instrument called spirometer is utilized to measure the air inhaled and exhaled from your lungs. Air volumes are measured to determine the ability of your lungs to hold and exhale air.
2. Peak flow meter. It measures the PEFR (peak expiratory flow rate). PEFR is the maximum quantity of air that you can exhale upon forced exhalation.
3. Chest x-ray. This is suggested by a doctor to know if pneumonia problems are present. Mild x-ray changes can be a sign of chronic bronchitis.
4. ABG (arterial blood gas) test. This determines the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood. A blood is drawn from your artery. The procedure can make you very uncomfortable. Analysis of your blood gas is useful if oxygen therapy can be advised in case your blood oxygen is very low.
5. Additional tests are necessary if other problems related to your health are involved. If infections are present, sputum and blood tests as well as cultures are conducted to determine the causes of infections.
There are different factors when considering treatments for bronchitis. If it is not caused by bacteria, unblocking the obstruction from the airways is done. Medical treatments inhaled medications helpful in unblocking the air passages of your respiratory tract. Bronchodilators are widely used for asthmatic bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
Bronchitis inflamed the bronchial tubes, mucous membrane, and other tissues and organs associated with the breathing process. Once these fragile organs of the respiratory get irritated and inflamed, excessive mucus is produced so that external agents such as irritants and dusts cannot penetrate. Excess mucus clogs the air passage and blocks the air from going into the lungs. This is the time when a person experiences cough, wheezing, or breathing difficulty.
Basically, bronchitis is not easy to diagnose. It is because its symptoms are also present in other respiratory diseases such as asthma and sinusitis. But these careful laboratory analyses and physical examinations help a lot.