Causes and Treatment of Bronchitis

By | June 10, 2022

Countless people are exposed to a wide variety of physical stimuli every day at work. Strong contrasts of cold and heat, dusty air, corrosive gases, tobacco smoke and other environmental influences create the conditions for diseases of the respiratory tract, the nature of which one must know in order to protect oneself from them. Therefore, this article will deal with bronchitis in more detail, which in turn can be divided into acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Causes of acute bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the tracheal mucosa, which can occur both acutely and chronically. In order to get an idea of ​​​​this disease, it is necessary to know that the mucous membrane consists of cylindrical cells covered with cilia. There are mucous glands in the gaps in the cartilage framework. The cilia, which have a frequency of 1,500 beats per minute, allow the mucus to be removed, similar to a conveyor belt. Normally, around 100 milliliters of mucus are moved every day at a speed of 1 to 1.5 centimeters per minute. In addition to humidification and chemical neutralization, the cilia also have the ability to trap dust and bacteria. For sacroiliac joint syndrome (isg syndrome) 101, please visit

If bronchitis occurs or if it persists for a long time, the mucous membrane and the bronchi change considerably. The gland cells produce much more mucus than in the normal state. Due to the inflammatory tissue changes, the smaller bronchi in particular are narrowed. Since the function of the ciliated cells is impaired, the ciliated border detaches or the entire cell is shed, the mucous secretion remains and the bacteria can settle more strongly. If the disease persists, the ciliated cells are replaced over time by inferior cells with no cleaning function, so that the entire mucous membrane is remodeled and can eventually atrophy.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Acute bronchitis often occurs together with a runny nose, a sore throat or a sore throat. In the development of the disease, in addition to expositional factors – cooling is one example – constitutional factors also play an important role. In many cases, acute bronchitis accompanies infectious diseases such as typhoid, measles, scarlet fever and influenza. It then usually arose through blood. When a patient’s resistance is weakened by chronic diseases or general weaknessis reduced, the development of acute bronchitis is also promoted. For this reason, old people are often affected by it. Acute bronchitis also develops as a result of inhaling corrosive gases or dry, dusty air.

In addition to a burning pain under the breastbone, a tormenting urge to cough is often observed as a symptom of this disease. Stitches occur in the chest muscles overworked by the cough. At the beginning of the disease, headaches, loss of appetite and a general feeling of illness appear. The fever often only lasts a few days. While initially only a little viscous mucus can be coughed up, the secretion later becomes liquid and yellowish in color.


The symptoms of acute bronchitis usually subside in a few days if there are no complications, but it is wrong to play the “hero” who does not want to be ill or to cure himself. In order to prevent a chronic course of the disease, the patient needs medical treatment, which must be completed intensively and consistently. A sweat cure, antipyretics prescribed by the doctor, cough drops and secretion-liquefying agents are usually sufficient, but these must be taken exactly according to the doctor’s instructions and are individually tailored to the patient. Staying in humid room air also has a positive effect.

Causes of chronic bronchitis

One speaks of chronic bronchitis when there is coughing and increased mucus secretion almost every day for at least three months a year. Various diseases often hide behind these symptoms. Thus, chronic bronchitis is most commonly associated with pulmonary emphysema, i.e., distension of the lungs, which can be a part of both its cause and its consequences. However, it also occurs in numerous heart diseases as so-called congestion bronchitis. The causes of chronic bronchitis are not exhausted with this.

Since it rarely occurs before the age of forty, but can be observed more frequently in the two decades that follow, age influences very likely also play a role. Even more important, however, are the effects of so-called pre-existing conditions. It has been repeatedly stated that bronchitis patients often have a history of specific and non-specific lung diseases. However, external influences are also of significant importance here in terms of damage to the ciliated cells in the bronchial cavity. Above all, air pollution and the various effects of smoke and dust, including cigarette smoke, should be mentioned here.

Understandably, air pollution is constantly increasing, especially in cities. In addition, exhaust gases from traffic and industry are becoming more and more important as disease-causing factors. Certain professional groups are particularly susceptible to chronic bronchitis. These include above all workers in the chemical industry, metal extraction and processing, miners and construction workers. But the place of residence can also influence the disease. For example, British physicians found that bronchitis symptoms were more frequent among the dust-loaded industrial population than among the rural population.

The harmful effects of cigarette smoke have been repeatedly reported in recent years and are generally known to every smoker. It is certain that long-term cigarette consumption promotes, among other things, the development of bronchitis. The term “smoker’s bronchitis” is well known.


Acute bronchitis is a very common respiratory disease that is mainly caused by viruses. It usually heals without consequences. Complications rarely occur. When these do occur, however, they are often superinfections with bacteria. Older people, small children and patients with a weakened immune system are particularly affected.

Bacterial pathogens include streptococci, Moraxella catharrhalis, hemophilus influenzae and, in children, mycoplasma or chlamydia. Without treatment with antibiotics, this can develop into pneumonia, which can sometimes be fatal in immunocompromised people.

In infants and young children, however, acute bronchitis can also turn into spastic bronchitis with severe shortness of breath and often a threatening course, which is usually easy to treat. Otherwise, there is a risk for some risk groups that acute bronchitis will develop into chronic bronchitis. Smokers and people who are exposed to fine dust are particularly at risk.

Furthermore, immunocompromised people often suffer from chronic bronchitis. In ten percent of cases, chronic bronchitis progresses to chronic obstructive bronchitis (COPD), which is characterized by pulmonary emphysema. The affected patient suffers from chronic shortness of breath. Right heart failure can also develop as a result of pulmonary emphysema. This in turn is characterized by chronic breathing difficulties, chest pain and swollen legs.

When should you go to the doctor?

A doctor is needed as soon as there is deterioration in health and a feeling of illness. In the case of general malaise, inner weakness or a decrease in physical performance, the symptoms should be discussed with a doctor. If there are symptoms such as headaches, loss of appetite, apathy or coughing, the cause must be clarified. Loss of secretion when coughing, a persistent urge to cough, or a hoarse voice is cause for concern.

Shortness of breath, changes in voice color, or nasal vocalization indicate irregularities that should be investigated. A weakened immune system, an inner cold or an increased need for sleep are signs of an existing illness. A doctor is needed as soon as the symptoms persist for several weeks or show an increasing character. If the ability to concentrate decreases, if it is difficult to meet everyday obligations or if there is a withdrawal from participation in social life, a visit to the doctor is advisable.

These are indications of a health disorder that should be investigated. Problems with the chest muscles, an uncomfortable feeling of pressure in the area of ​​the upper body and shortness of breath should be discussed with a doctor. To prevent serious complications or long-term health problems from developing, a diagnosis should be made in good time. This is the only way to create a treatment plan that will alleviate the symptoms.

Treatment & Therapy

In the treatment and prophylaxis of chronic bronchitis, it is particularly important to eliminate disease-causing environmental influences, including constant inhalation of tobacco smoke. If a chronic disease has already developed, smoking must of course be stopped completely. Without these measures, any drug therapy is doomed to failure. The course of chronic bronchitis can often be positively influenced by changing living conditions or changing jobs. Another important factor is the intensive treatment of infections, which can only be carried out under precise instructions and under the supervision of a doctor.

Bronchitis is often triggered and maintained by chronic inflammation in the area of ​​the nose, paranasal sinuses and oral cavity. The patient is then advised to get plenty of exercise and stay in the fresh air. Regular walks, if possible in densely wooded, dust-free surroundings, have proven particularly beneficial. After the acute symptoms have resolved, light physical exercises such as swimming, cycling and ball sports are appropriate.

Sleep disorders often occur with chronic bronchitis due to the dried out mucous membranes. You can help yourself very well if you chew dry pastries or a crust of bread. The secretion of saliva often succeeds in inducing a reflex secretion of mucus. Special dietary measures are not necessary for bronchitis. But you have to make sure that the diet is varied and rich in vitamins. Appropriate physiotherapeutic care can support the treatment of the disease significantly and influence it favorably.

The problem of mailing out spa treatments should also be mentioned in this context. Since we know that there are also many patients in our country – especially between the ages of 50 and 60 – who suffer from bronchitis, the health insurance companies naturally try to do everything they can to prevent a chronic disease and even more patients than to enable a preventive or early cure.

In general, one can say that both acute and chronic bronchitis can be positively influenced by appropriate therapy. Secondary diseases such as pulmonary emphysema with its unfavorable effects on cardiac function and other complications and long-term damage can also be avoided by early outpatient, inpatient and occasionally also spa treatment. For this, however, it is necessary for the patient to have a say in the course of the disease through an appropriate lifestyle and not to take acute illnesses lightly.


There are two forms of bronchitis, acute and chronic bronchitis. The latter is also known as COPD in everyday language. The nature of the disease and the severity of the symptoms affect follow-up care. There is a widespread assumption that acute bronchitis can easily progress to the chronic form.

According to medical knowledge, this assumption is wrong, but the symptoms can persist for a longer period of more than four weeks. In acute bronchitis, the goal is complete recovery. If the symptoms keep coming back or if there is no noticeable improvement, further examinations are scheduled.

The lung specialist should determine the actual cause. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, does not heal completely. The symptoms are only weakened during the follow-up treatment. Maintaining quality of life is paramount here. In both forms of bronchitis, complications should be prevented.

These include bronchopneumonia, but also an additional acute bronchitis to the already existing COPD. A small proportion of patients with chronic bronchitis represent a risk group for asthma. Follow-up care is individually tailored and the patient is treated accordingly depending on the possible complication.

You can do that yourself

Those affected who suffer from acute bronchitis should definitely allow themselves a few days of rest, sleep a lot during this time and, if their state of health allows it, also go for walks in the fresh air. On the other hand, sports and other physically demanding activities must be avoided. Smokers should reduce their tobacco consumption as much as possible, and alcohol is often counterproductive. In addition, a healthy diet based on lots of fresh fruit and vegetables promotes the recovery process.

Patients who often suffer from shortness of breath or a strong cough in the evening should not sleep flat on their back but with their upper body upright. The changed sleeping position often makes breathing considerably easier. Over-the-counter medicines from pharmacies help against the tormenting cough.

Warm breast wraps or herbal teas are also recommended in natural medicine. Thyme, quark, onions or a sack of hay flowers are traditionally used for the breast wraps. Like sage, thyme is said to relieve coughing when used as a tea. Steam baths with chamomile or sea salt can also have an expectorant and anti-inflammatory effect on the upper respiratory tract. The same is true of certain essential oils, particularly those derived from peppermint. However, allergy sufferers must be careful when using essential oils.

It is also particularly important to drink enough, at least two liters a day. Still mineral water and unsweetened herbal tea are best.

Causes and Treatment of Bronchitis