Chronic bronchitis is a condition in which irritated airways produce thick mucus that clogs airways and causes difficulty in breathing. Generally, the airways are irritated on a long-term or continual basis. Some of the most common causes of chronic bronchitis are:
Cigarette smoking. The cause of other diseases such as emphysema and cancer, cigarette smoking can also cause chronic bronchitis. This is due to the inhaled smoke irritating airways and causing thick mucus production. “According to the American Lung Association, around 14 million Americans have chronic bronchitis. Between 80% and 90% of these people are smokers.” (Penn State)
Secondhand smoke. Because cigarette smoke is irritating to airways, even non-smokers who are exposed to cigarette smoke can get chronic bronchitis.
Pollution. As with cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants can irritate airways and cause chronic bronchitis.
Other causes of chronic bronchitis include bacterial infections and viral infections.
Chronic bronchitis is sometimes associated with other conditions. These conditions include asthma, tuberculosis, sinusitis, and emphysema.
Because the symptoms and causes of chronic bronchitis are shared by other ailments, it is important for a patient experiencing these symptoms to seek professional medical diagnosis.
The best prevention is to avoid those factors that cause chronic bronchitis, whenever possible. Giving up smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke are health benefits across the board. Moving to a location with low pollution and adding air purification systems to your home can all help reduce risk factors. (Penn State)
Drinking plenty of fluids in order to keep mucus thin and avoiding all other airway irritants also increase your odds for avoiding this condition.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health – Medline Plus http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000091.htm.
Respiratory Disorders – Chronic Bronchitis. University of Virginia Health System http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/uvahealth/adult_respire/chrnbron.cfm
Chronic Bronchitis. Health & Disease A – Z. Penn State – Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, College of Medicine. Last updated October 31, 2006.http://www.hmc.psu.edu/healthinfo/b/bronchitis.htm