What is obstructive bronchitis?
Obstructive bronchitis, or obstructive bronchial syndrome, is a disease that affects the bronchi. It is defined as swelling and inflammation of the main airways that carry air to the lungs, making breathing difficult. This disease can develop due to different causes, among them the most frequent is a viral infection.
Prognosis of the disease
Early detection is essential for this type of disease, since it develops in different degrees. When it is acute it is possible to cure it following the treatment recommended by the specialist in Pneumology. However, if the disease progresses further, the patient may have to undergo lifelong treatment.
Symptoms of obstructive bronchitis
The symptoms are varied, some of the most common are:
- Chest discomfort
- Cough producing clear or yellowish-green phlegm
- Low fever
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing in patients with asthma
In addition, even if bronchitis is relieved, a dry and annoying cough may occur and may last from 1 to 4 weeks.
The causes are closely related to air pollution.
Medical tests for obstructive bronchitis
Tests to diagnose this pathology can be:
- Chest X-ray in case a possible pneumonia is suspected.
- Pulse oximetry to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood with a device placed on the end of the finger.
What are the causes of obstructive bronchitis?
The causes are closely related to air pollution, especially tobacco smoke, dust and toxic gases. This irritates the mucous membranes lining the airways, which can lead to simple chronic bronchitis in the first place. This type of bronchitis can be cured in a few weeks if the cause of the problem is eliminated. Other factors that can contribute to the onset of this disease are: passive smoking, inhalation of harmful substances…
Can it be prevented?
Good prevention starts by avoiding risk factors such as tobacco smoke, dust, toxic gases, vapors, environmental pollution, etc. You can use a mask when you know that you are going to be exposed to these types of aggressive substances for the lungs.
Treatments for obstructive bronchitis
Treatment aims to reduce symptoms and the incidence of flare-ups, improve lung function, prevent complications and increase life expectancy. For patients who smoke, it is very important to quit in order to alleviate symptoms. In addition, certain medications can help improve the patient’s quality of life, especially when it is acute. In case it is severe, it is not a curable disease and therefore requires lifelong treatment. Therefore, the causes that provoke it should be avoided as much as possible.
Which specialist treats it?
The pneumologist is the specialist in charge of treating this pathology. Pneumology is the medical specialty that deals with the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the respiratory system, that is, the lungs, the pleura (membrane that covers the walls of the thoracic cavity and the lungs) and the mediastinum (space of the thoracic cage between the pleura, the spine and the sternum).