Bronchitis is a disease whereby the tubes that allow the flow of air into the lungs, precisely the bronchi and bronchioles, are inflamed. This inflammation is caused by bodily chemical reactions that cause these organs to swell and redden and are thus painful.
There are two types of Bronchitis. The first is Acute Bronchitis, which is caused by a viral infection, in most cases after one suffers from a cold, flu or a sore throat. The other type of Bronchitis is the Chronic Bronchitis, which is caused by too much phlegm in the airways. Several factors cause this disease. These include viruses, bacteria, smoking and in some cases irritable chemicals.
Major causes of bronchitis
The world’s major cause of bronchitis and specifically Acute Bronchitis is smoking. The bronchial tubes of the lungs are irritated by the tobacco in the cigarettes plus other tobacco substances. Medical professionals say that smokers that live in areas that are exposed to chemical pollution have a higher chance of developing this disease than smokers that live in less polluted areas. It is important to note that non-smokers that live with smokers are also at a risk of developing the disease though the risk level is quite less.
The other cause of this disease is industrial pollution. Research has established that people at the highest risk of contracting the disease are those that work in the coal mining industry, people that handle grains, metal handlers, cement industry workers and generally, people exposed to dust. High Sulfur Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere worsens the symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis sufferers.
Viruses are also known to cause Acute Bronchitis when they attack bronchial tree lining thus causing infection. These viruses are passed on from one person to the other through coughing (generally, the disease is airborne). When the virus attacks, the body fights back. When the body fights back, this causes the bronchi and bronchioles affected to swell.
There is also the production of mucus. This takes time, and it damages the bronchi. Bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumoniae, is known to cause this disease though not as in many cases as in the viral causes. It is very important to note also that in very rare cases, fungi can also cause Bronchitis. In conclusion, it is wise to note that since the elderly, smokers and those exposed to irritants are at the highest risk of developing the disease. With the elderly the risk factor increases due to their immune systems