Health Information

Chronic Bronchitis

What is chronic bronchitis?


Chronic bronchitis is a long-term inflammation of the bronchi, which results in increased production of mucus, as well as other changes.

To be classified as chronic bronchitis:
  • cough and expectoration must occur most days for at least three months per year, for two years in a row.
  • other causes of symptoms, such as tuberculosis or other lung diseases, must be excluded.

What are the causes of chronic bronchitis?


In acute bronchitis, bacteria or viruses may be the cause, but in chronic bronchitis there is no specific organism recognized as the cause of the disease.

Cigarette smoking is cited as the most common contributor to chronic bronchitis, followed by:
  • bacterial or viral infections
  • environmental pollution (chemical fumes, dust, and other substances)

Chronic bronchitis is often associated with other pulmonary diseases such as:
  • pulmonary emphysema
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • asthma
  • tuberculosis
  • sinusitis
  • upper respiratory infections

Treatment for chronic bronchitis:


Specific treatment for chronic bronchitis will be determined by your physician based on:
  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference