Simply put, bronchitis is the inflammation of mucus membranes of the main air passages of the lungs (the bronchial tree comprising the bronchi and the bronchioles). It causes congestion in the chest, cough, difficulty in breathing and chest tightness.

Bronchitis is of two types:

  • Acute Bronchitis: This usually starts with a soar throat, runny nose and dry cough later on causing infection of the sinuses before it spreads to the airways. It is caused by the same virus that causes cold. It results in swelling of bronchial tubes, mucus formation and paralysis of tiny hair lining on the respiratory tract. The accumulation of mucus forces the patient to cough heavily. Shortness of breath, sweating, chills, fatigue and a rise in temperature are the associated symptoms during the initial 10 days.
  • Chronic Bronchitis: Chronic bronchitis is a type of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In the case of chronic bronchitis, the inflammation of bronchi and the bronchioles results in production of excessive mucus. This leads to difficulty in breathing. Smoking, pollution, dust particles etc. in the atmosphere are the common causes for chronic bronchitis. It can last for a lifetime.

It is very tempting to take a cough suppressant (an anti-tussive) and quell the cough. Instead, try remedies or taking an expectorant, which actually make you cough more. These medicines liquefy the mucus help drain it out the phlegm and clear the air passages.

By the age of 60 years, around 60% of men and 40% of women start snoring