Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi. These are tubes that connect the lungs and the windpipe and help to carry air from and to the lungs. The main symptom of this infection is cough with phlegm, shortness of breath and a wheezing sound while breathing when the person exerts himself. In addition, the person will also experience pain in the center of the chest, directly under the breast bone.
There are primarily 2 kinds of bronchitis -- acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis occurs due to a viral infection and is spread when the infected person coughs and releases airborne particles. On rare occasions, acute bronchitis can be caused due to a bacterial infection. The infection usually persists for about ten days, but the cough may stay on for many weeks.
The risk factors for acute bronchitis include smoking, dust, air pollution and fumes. Usually the infection goes away on its own in a few days time. However, if you are uncomfortable, you should visit a doctor.
On the other hand, chronic bronchitis, as the name suggests, is an ongoing condition. This is a serious health problem. It basically means that the bronchial tubes' lining is inflamed constantly and thereby always irritated. Usually chronic bronchitis is characterized by persistent cough for a minimum of 3 months in one year and the infection comes on for 2 consecutive years without any reason. However, it has been seen that smoking is the major cause for people getting chronic bronchitis.
When it comes to bronchitis and the elderly, it has been seen that seniors are highly susceptible to bronchitis. In fact, seniors are more at risk to getting acute bronchitis compared to any other age group besides kids and infants. Also, chronic bronchitis is more prevalent in people who are more than 45 years of age. Also, older women are more likely to get chronic bronchitis compared to men.
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