Bronchitis, as similar to flu, is a common condition that affects both adults and children. Since in recent times, several people have died from flu, most of you might wonder and ask “Can bronchitis kill you or me?” Although there are so many things for us to worry about, bronchitis might not be one of them. That is because statistics and science have some proof that it can be prevented.
According to experts, that is owed to the fact that conditions related to the environment mostly causes bronchitis. Likewise, there are already a number of available medications that can be used to treat it. What worries people is that they have read cases wherein the death of the patient has been related to bronchitis. As such, a better understanding of bronchitis will give you better peace of mind.
Bronchitis: A Detailed Look
Basically, bronchitis is the inflammation of your bronchi that are located in your respiratory system that can often lead to scarring in the area and excess production of mucus. As a result, there is less surface available for you to breathe. This condition usually resolves after proper management, but sometimes, it becomes persistent and recurs yearly. Such might indicate that you have chronic bronchitis. As mentioned earlier, this condition is often caused by external factors but there are cases wherein infection is the cause.
Bronchitis’ symptoms mirror that of the common cold and the flu, and it should not be of any surprise to you because it comes right on the heels of either respiratory infection. This usually just means that your cold has gotten worse. You will have either a runny or stuffy nose accompanied by a cough that is filled with mucus. You may suffer from a fever, and you might have some chest pains and wheezing. Some people also experience diarrhea and vomiting.
A number of factors may increase your risk of developing bronchitis. People who smoke as well as those who have a weakened or compromised immune system have the highest chances of developing bronchitis. In addition, data indicate that females are more likely to have chronic bronchitis than males do. Also, persons who are victims of second-hand smoke and who live near and work in industries that have a lot of dust are also at high risk of developing bronchitis.
Indeed, you might not be able to control your environmental conditions, but you can wear a facial mask. If you smoke, you should also consider seeking help to stop the habit.
As noted earlier, acute bronchitis can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, in the event that an infection caused the inflammation, antibiotics will be prescribed by your doctor. Some doctors might also prescribe the same drugs that are used to treat asthma to help clear your airways. The most common one given is an inhaler spray that contains steroids or bronchodilators.
Some people may also prefer to see a respiratory therapist who will help them with their breathing. Others may make use of a humidifier to assist in clearing their airways of mucus.
Can Bronchitis Kill You: The Complications
Generally, the symptoms of bronchitis should clear up in about two weeks or show some sort of improvement. If it does not, then you may need to seek medical direction. If your cough does not improve after several months, it may be an indication of something else, which may be critical. Also, you should not confuse bronchitis with asthma especially if you wheeze at night or during activities. To maintain your peace of mind, you should probably have your doctor do some breathing tests since asthma can result in death.
Persistent coughing over an extended period leads to scarring which produces excess mucus, and the bronchi become thick. As long as air flow is hampered, the lungs become scarred. The scarred tissue is the ideal breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and infection. It is unlikely that you will go to a chronic state of bronchitis unless you neglect your health and cause your lungs damage. If you have trouble breathing, have swollen feet, and you are coughing blood, you need to visit your doctor to receive treatment for any potential fatal respiratory infections.
Bronchitis can lead to pneumonia which is in layman’s terms a lung infection that can affect both or one of your lungs. Different types of pneumonia namely bacterial, viral and mycoplasmal do exist. People with bacterial pneumonia have a fever with chills, chest pains and they have a cough accompanied by green, rust or yellow colored mucus production. On the other hand, it is easy to mistake viral pneumonia for the flu as you will have a fever, headache, and a dry cough. People suffer body aches and within a few hours, they will have difficulty breathing, and their lips may appear blue. Mycoplasma pneumonia takes days to weeks to develop.
The difference between pneumonia and bronchitis is where it develops. Whereas bronchitis develops in the bronchi, pneumonia develops in the lungs. Pneumonia is life-threatening, and because it is, you should not treat your cold and flu symptoms lightly as they can develop into bronchitis, which can develop into pneumonia. You should know your body well enough to ascertain the best time to go to the doctor. If pneumonia is caught at the right time, then your life can be saved, if not, it can be fatal. Prevention is of course always better than cure.
For the question, “Can bronchitis kill you?” The answer is “No, you won’t die from bronchitis.” However, because of the scarring it can create on your lungs and airways, it makes you susceptible to infections, and the area will be too weak to protect your body against them. Those infections that you contract are potentially fatal if left untreated. Though you develop an infection as a result of bronchitis and may subsequently die, it is unlikely that your death certificate will list bronchitis as your cause of death.
With that being said, respiratory conditions, especially coughs, should never be taken lightly as it causes scarring in your airways and lungs. You should also identify the symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia so that you can prevent your death, and that of your loved ones. Knowledge is, after all, power.