Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that persists for at least three months in two consecutive years. It is most commonly caused by smoking or exposure to second hand smoke. Most patients notice frequent productive cough and wheezing or shortness of breath.. Symptoms are often worse in the morning. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath becomes more prominent. Periodic worsening of symptoms (exacerbations) may be caused by viral upper respiratory infections, bacterial infections and exposure to irritants such as smoke, dust or air pollution.
Chronic bronchitis is sometimes referred to as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Sometimes, asthma and chronic bronchitis can exist at the same time. Many of the same diagnostic tests and treatment are used.
Chronic bronchitis is diagnosed by taking a history, performing breathing tests (spirometry) and often a chest X-Ray. Treatments include inhaled medications to improve airway function, and avoidance of smoke, dust and other triggers. Exacerbations are often treated with a course of oral steroids such as prednisone and antibiotics.
The lung doctors at Arizona Pulmonary Specialists are experts in the diagnosis and management of Chronic Bronchitis. We will work to make sure that you have the correct diagnosis and create a treatment plant to keep your disease under excellent control. Our respiratory therapists and nurses are available to ensure that you are using your medications correctly and answer your questions.