Chronic Bronchitis Vs Copd
A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation is another issue entirely when compared to chronic bronchitis. A COPD exacerbation is simply an acute worsening of the symptoms of COPD, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, mucus production, or coughing.
Depending on the kind of COPD a person has , these symptoms may be slightly different.
Patients with chronic bronchitis generally have more mucus production and cough, whereas people with emphysema have more shortness of breath, although either type of COPD can cause any number of these symptoms.
A COPD exacerbation may be caused by an infection , but it may also be caused by non-infectious causes such as fumes, irritants, or smoke.
The treatment for an acute COPD exacerbation is often steroids, inhalers, and antibiotics .
If you have chronic bronchitis or COPD and experience worsening of your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to determine the correct treatment for you.
Breathing In Irritant Substances
Bronchitis can also be triggered by breathing in irritant substances, such as smog, chemicals in household products or tobacco smoke.
Smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis. It can affect people who inhale secondhand smoke, as well as those who smoke themselves.
People with chronic bronchitis often develop another smoking-related lung disease called emphysema, where the air sacs inside the lungs become damaged, causing shortness of breath.
If you smoke, try to stop straight away as smoking aggravates bronchitis and increases your risk of developing emphysema.
Stopping smoking while you have bronchitis can also be the perfect opportunity to quit altogether.
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The Differences Between Bronchitis And Pneumonia
31 August, 2021
Both bronchitis and pneumonia are respiratory conditions, so theyre rather similar. However, they have different causes and you can neither prevent nor treat them with the same methods.
OK, so, how can you tell them apart then? What are their individual symptoms? Resolving these questions is important to identify whether you have one of these diseases. Continue reading to find out what their main differences are.
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Preventing Pneumonia With Vaccine
While anyone can get pneumonia, infants under the age of two, adults over the age of 65, and people who have chronic medical conditions are most at risk due to a weaker immune system that may not be strong enough to fight the infection. Your health insurance coverage, including Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage , covers some vaccines and immunizations that can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia, including:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
How Is Acute Bronchitis Spread
If bronchitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it is spread the same ways that colds are spreadby germs traveling through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. You can breathe the germs in if you are close enough. You could also touch something that has germs on it, like a door, and then transfer the germs by touching your nose, mouth or eyes. That is why good hand washing practices are important for adults and children.
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Differences Between Bronchitis And Pneumonia
The common symptoms of these two diseases cough, fever, fatigue and an aching chest are very similar. Bronchitis can even progress to pneumonia in some cases.
But these are two very different diseases affecting different parts of the lungs, says Dr. Tolle. Pneumonia symptoms also are usually much more serious and, in some cases, potentially life-threatening.
The bottom line? If you have symptoms that match either bronchitis and pneumonia and they dont improve within a week, or if the symptoms keep worsening, contact your healthcare provider.
How Your Doctor Chooses
Your doctor will select the right antibiotic for you based on multiple factors, including:
- Your age: People 65 and older have a greater risk of serious complications from pneumonia infections.
- Your health history: A history of smoking, lung diseases, or other conditions may influence a person’s ability to fight off infections.
- The exact infection you have: Your doctor may take a sample and test it for bacteria. They can then pick an antibiotic based on your specific infection.
- Your previous experiences with antibiotics: Make sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, had bad reactions to antibiotics in the past, or have developed an antibacterial-resistant infection.
- The antibiotic sensitivity of the bacteria: The lab will test the bacteria causing your pneumonia to determine which antibiotics it is sensitive or resistant to.
Doctors typically choose your antibiotics prescription based on what medicines they think will be most effective and cause the fewest side effects.
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Diagnosing And Treatment Of Bronchitis And Pneumonia
Because bronchitis and pneumonia can present similarly to one another, an examination by a ConvenientMD treating provider is recommended for those who are experiencing symptoms. Certain tests, such as a chest x-ray may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis, after which a treatment plan will be devised. In most cases, pneumonia can be successfully treated with antibiotics , and/or steroids and cough medications. Bronchitis is often viral and therefore will not require antibiotics, except in certain circumstances in patients with chronic lung disease.
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What Is The Difference Between Bacterial And Viral Bronchitis
Two things can help you tell the difference between these two types of bronchitis: the length of time the symptoms last and the colourof the secretions.
If your symptoms get worse by the day and persist for more than a week, you probably have bacterial bronchitis. Greenish phlegm is alsoa signal of a bacterial infection. Clear or yellowish secretions generally indicate that the infection is viral in origin.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a serious illness that can take quite a toll on a persons lungs and body. It can take anywhere from a week to several months to fully recover from it, says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
The length of time it takes for you to recover from pneumonia is influenced by:
- Your age
- The severity of your illness
- Whether you have other health conditions
- The type of pneumonia
If youre generally healthy and have only a mild case of pneumonia, your symptoms should begin to improve one to two days after starting treatment.
Most people with mild pneumonia are able to return to their everyday activities in a week, although fatigue and cough can linger for an entire month, says Dr. Lee.
Recovery timelines become more murky for people who have severe pneumonia.
For more serious cases that require hospitalization, were not only focused on clearing the infection, were also focused on preventing or treating complications that can develop including difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung abscesses, warns Dr. Lee.
Pneumonia and its complications can wreak havoc on a persons lungs and body. And, it can take anywhere from one to six months for a person to recover and regain strength after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
How Effective Are Herbal Products
Various herbal products are available for the treatment of acute . Some of them are based on combinations of different active ingredients. Examples include Pelargonium, primrose, thyme, eucalyptus and ivy extracts. Studies on these products suggest that they can somewhat soothe acute bronchitis coughs and make it easier to cough up phlegm. The possible side effects include stomach and bowel problems. Statutory health insurers in Germany generally dont cover the costs of these products.
Other herbal products such as those used in traditional Chinese medicine have hardly been tested in high-quality studies. So it isnt known whether they can help. But they, too, can have side effects.
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Following A Healthful Diet
To alleviate symptoms of bronchitis and manage the condition, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend lifestyle changes that include following a healthful diet.
A healthful diet consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. It also includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products and limits saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Eating a healthful diet keeps a persons immune system working. Not eating a balanced diet can lead to a persons immune functions being impaired. This damage is caused by an insufficient intake of energy and macronutrients, as well as a lack of specific micronutrients.
How Your Healthcare Provider Chooses
Your healthcare provider will only prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis if they think bacteria are causing your symptoms and youre at high risk of the infection not resolving on its own.
If a virus causes your bronchitis, they wont give you antibiotics because the antibiotics wouldnt do anything. If youre young and generally healthy, they probably wont prescribe anything either.
A Cochrane report last updated in 2017 found little evidence that antibiotics help acute bronchitis in healthy people, but recommended further study for patients that are elderly, frail, or have other conditions that may make bronchitis worse.
When considering treatment, your healthcare provider will look at:
- If youve had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic in the past
- Other health conditions, like autoimmune diseases, heart conditions, and lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Your history with smoking or vaping
- The oxygen levels in your blood
If your practitioner decides to prescribe an antibiotic, the treatment they choose will be based on your medical history, personal details, symptoms, diagnosis, and test results.
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When To See A Doctor
If you feel like you have either bronchitis or pneumonia, its always a good idea to check in with your doctor. If the underlying cause is bacterial, you should start feeling much better within a day or two of starting antibiotics.
Otherwise, call your doctor if your cough or wheezing doesnt improve after two weeks.
You should also seek immediate medical care if you notice:
- blood in your phlegm
- a fever over 100.4°F that lasts for more than a week
- shortness of breath
Some More Details About Our Respiratory Tract:
- The airways are lined extensively by smooth muscles, goblet cells which are responsible for mucus production and hair-like projections called Cilia. Goblet cells trap particulate matter or micro-organisms and ciliary movements help to push them out of the airways.
- The respiratory tract is studded with lymph nodes for effective drainage of infective organisms and toxins. The thoracic duct passes from near the trachea.
- Each part of the airway is rich in blood and nerve supply.
- The alveoli are mainly responsible for the gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Pneumocytes within the alveoli are responsible for gaseous exchange and production of surfactant-a fluid which prevents the alveoli from collapsing.
- The lungs are covered externally by the parietal and visceral pleura. The pleural cavity contains pleural fluid which works as a shock absorber and a transporter of nutrients and fluids from and into the lungs.
- The lungs are protected therefore direct trauma to the lungs is a very rare occurrence.
To know if you have bronchitis or pneumonia, it is vital to know that both of these clinical entities are affections of the lower respiratory tract. Further details of this article will help you understand if you have pneumonia or bronchitis or if you have both at the same time and how to differentiate between the two.
What Are Pneumonia And Bronchitis
Pneumonia and bronchitis are infections of the lungs. Pneumonia is less common but can be more severe than bronchitis and sometimes requires hospitalization.
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways of the lungs, most often caused by a viral infection.
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs air sacs. The air sacs are deeper in the lung and are responsible for oxygen exchange with the blood. Pneumonia is often caused by bacterial or viral infections and causes the air sacs to fill with fluid or pus .
Pneumonia and bronchitis require different treatments. Its important to get the correct diagnosis from your doctor so you receive the right care.
Diagnosing Bronchitis Vs Pneumonia
If you suspect you have bronchitis or pneumonia, you should call your doctor. Dont wait bronchitis can turn into pneumonia if not treated, which is much more difficult to treat.Your doctor will examine your symptoms and ask you about your medical history. Because they have to figure out the cause and origin of your infection, they may ask you about your contact with sick people or animals, travel history, and your job. They will also listen to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for any unusual noises like bubbling or rumbling as you breathe.If your doctor suspects you have bronchitis or pneumonia, they can order tests to verify their diagnosis. This may include a chest X-ray, testing a sample of your mucus, or blood tests. They may also order a bronchoscopy to see inside your airways and determine if there is anything wrong.
How Doctors May Treat Bronchitis That Turns Into Pneumonia
Treatment of pneumonia that has developed after bronchitis can vary depending on factors like age, severity of symptoms, and medical history. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend hospitalization, says Holguin.
If youre not experiencing breathing difficulties or other serious symptoms and your pneumonia is determined to be bacterial, you may be prescribed an oral antibiotic.
Your doctor may also test you for other infections, such as the flu, and depending on your symptoms and test results, recommend an antiviral medication, says Holguin.
If your doctor determines that your pneumonia can be treated at home, they may suggest the following:
- Drinking plenty of fluids, which can help loosen phlegm and clear it out of your body
- Getting lots of rest
- Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or chest pain
If hospitalized for pneumonia, you may be given these treatments:
- Oxygen therapy and other breathing treatments
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Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Many patients also use nonprescription, alternative medications for relief of their bronchitis symptoms. Studies have assessed the benefits of echinacea, pelargonium, and honey. Trials of echinacea in patients with bronchitis and the common cold have yielded inconsistent results, although studies showing positive results have been modest at best.25 Several randomized trials have evaluated pelargonium as a therapy for bronchitis. 2628 Modest benefits have been noted, primarily in symptom scoring by patients.27 In one randomized trial, patients taking pelargonium for bronchitis returned to work an average of two days earlier than those taking placebo.28
One recent trial examined the effectiveness of dark honey for symptom relief in children with bronchitis compared with dextromethorphan or placebo. Although the authors concluded that symptom scores from patients treated with dark honey were superior to those treated with placebo, the clinical benefit was small.29
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How Is Acute Bronchitis Diagnosed
Healthcare providers can often diagnose acute bronchitis by taking a medical history and doing physical exam. Tests may be done to rule out other diseases, such as pneumonia or asthma. Any of these tests may be used to help confirm a diagnosis:
- Chest X-rays. A test that uses invisible radiation beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs, including the lungs.
- Arterial blood gas. This blood test is used to analyze the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood.
- Pulse oximetry. An oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To get this measurement, a small sensor is taped or clipped on a finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.
- Cultures of nasal discharge and sputum. Testing the sputum you cough up or swab from your nose may be done to find and identify the microorganism causing the infection.
- Pulmonary function tests. These are tests that help to measure the ability of the lungs to move air in and out of the lungs. The tests are usually done with special machines that you breathe into.
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How Is Bronchitis Treated
The treatment for bronchitis depends on what type you have. If you have acute bronchitis, you might not need any treatment. Or you might use over-the-counter drugs that break up mucus or that treat fever or pain. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
If you have chronic bronchitis, treatment will be different. Chronic bronchitis, considered to be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , is not curable. Symptoms can be treated using a variety of methods, including drugs, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, surgery, or a combination of these. Your doctor might prescribe a mucus clearing device, also called an airway clearance device, to help you bring up mucus easily.
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Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patients mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
When to call a doctor