Bronchitis is an infection of the bronchial tubes of the lungs. Most often a problem of smokers, the disease sometimes occurs in non-smokers. Some of the risks of disease include repeated infections of the bronchi and bronchioles which may damage the linings of these tubes and leave the lungs susceptible to more infection. And, if the infection should spread to the alveoli, it could worsen to pneumonia or emphysema.
Bronchitis can leave scars in the lungs after the victim recovers. Repeated infections may cause thickening and distortion of the bronchial tubes which may inhibit breathing effectiveness. Also, excessive mucus secretion may obstruct passageways and excessive contraction of the muscles of the bronchial walls may occur.
How to treat? Not all doctors agree on the treatment of Bronchitis. The treatment depends upon the degree of progression of the disease, but most doctors usually prescribe an aerosol inhaler if you are suffering from breathlessness. Used several times a day, the medicine relaxes the wall muscles of the bronchi. This allows more air into the lungs. If an infection has already occurred within the lungs, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. He may decide to inject the antibiotic if the infection is causing serious attacks. Bronchitis is a serious affliction if not treated and your doctor can help you especially if you see him during the early stages.
Your doctor may prescribe small doses of an antibiotic for several weeks. Sometimes though, it may take several months to recover from the disease. You may be given a full dose in the beginning of treatment to get a jump on the treatment. Sometimes, you may be diagnosed with a viral infection and you should realize that antibiotics are not effective against a virus. However a doctor my prescribe antibiotics to someone who suffers from a viral infection because of the danger of getting an infection. And, chronic bronchitis can cause heart problems. If you are concerned about this, your doctor will have to determine your treatment while taking this in consideration. Your doctor may need you to take certain tests on your heart and lungs if you might have bronchitis.