Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which are airways that lead to your lungs. Acute bronchitis often follows some kind of infection, such as a cold or flu, although it may develop because of cigarette smoking or from pollution in the air. Acute bronchitis may even develop because of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), due to stomach acid getting into your lungs. Chronic bronchitis develops from long-term exposure to irritants, especially with cigarette smoking. Over time, the lining of your bronchial tubes becomes thickened and continually inflamed, a condition that worsens as you continue to smoke.
Signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis:
- chest and sinus congestion (from preexisting respiratory infection)
- cough with colored phlegm
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
Signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis:
- continual shortness of breath
- continual need to clear your throat
- persistent coughing
Untreated, bronchitis can lead to pneumonia, especially if you have an impaired immune system, such as with the elderly, children, and those with HIV/AIDS. See your doctor if you have cold or flu symptoms that last more than two weeks.
With acute bronchitis, your doctor will likely only recommend rest and increased fluid intake; antibiotics are not usually prescribed since most acute bronchial infections are viral in nature. Cough suppressants are advised against, since coughing is a natural way for the body to rid itself of irritants, although you may be recommended something if your coughing is interfering with your sleep. An inhaler with anti-inflammatory medication may be offered in severe cases.
For chronic bronchitis, catching it early is most often the key. Early treatment along with quitting smoking could significantly improve your chances of recovery.
While it is not a substitute for antibiotics when they are required, natural health care is excellent for improving the health of your bronchial tubes. Dietary modification is extremely helpful with improving your lung function, while acupuncture and TCM can help reduce inflammation, treat your coughing, and help improve your energy levels. Yoga and massage therapy may help reduce any stress that could be contributing to your symptoms.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you improve your health and manage your symptoms of bronchitis.
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