chronic bronchitis symptoms

Chronic bronchitis is one of two conditions (along with emphysema) that make up chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes through which air enters the lungs. It?s caused by damage from smoking, or from breathing in chemical fumes or air pollution for a long period of time.

Because the damage develops over the course of many years, you might not start to notice chronic bronchitis symptoms until your airways are already very damaged. The most common chronic bronchitis symptoms are a persistent, chesty cough that usually brings up mucus. This kind of cough is sometimes referred to as a ?smoker?s cough.? The mucus might be clear, or it could be white, green, or yellowish gray.

You can also develop wheezing, a whistling sound when you breathe. The wheezing may get worse when you exercise or do other activities. Some people complain of chronic bronchitis symptoms like tightness in the chest, fatigue, and weakness. If you have an infection, you might also have a fever and/or chills. Your chronic bronchitis symptoms may get progressively worse. You can also experience periods during which symptoms worsen, which could mean you?ve caught an infection.

The time to see your doctor is when chronic bronchitis symptoms continue for more than three weeks. Also call if you have blood in your mucus, you?re wheezing or short of breath, or you have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

During the examination, your doctor will ask about your chronic bronchitis symptoms. You will likely have a pulmonary function test, in which you breathe into a device called a spirometer to see how much air your lungs can hold and how strongly you can breathe out. A test of your sputum can determine whether you have an infection that requires antibiotics. Other ways to check for chronic bronchitis include blood tests and a chest x-ray.

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