Bronchitis is a medical condition that causes the inflammation of the large and medium-sized airways in the lung. These airways are otherwise known as the bronchi. Some of the known symptoms of Bronchitis are wheezing, coughing up mucus, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath. As a serious medical condition, it is divided into two different types which are acute bronchi and chronic bronchi.
Before we go into the detailed discussion of the different stages of this deadly disease, let’s first discuss its types with a view to having a good understanding of the disease and the degree of damage it can wreck on its victim’s health. I will start with acute bronchitis.
Types of Bronchitis
You know you are suffering from bronchitis when the tubes known as bronchial tubes carrying oxygen from windpipe to lungs inflames. There are two types of bronchitis. These are listed below:
- Acute Bronchitis
- Chronic Bronchitis
It is a type of Bronchitis that is usually accompanied by a severe cough that may last for about two to three weeks. Aside from the carrier that is exposed to the danger of the disease, this deadly ailment is contagious. It can easily be passed from the patient to others through physical contact. Being airborne, the disease gets transferred from one person to another.
Some other means of passing the terminal disease include dust, exposure to or inhaling tobacco smoke, and any source of air pollution. In some extreme cases, acute bronchitis may be caused by some bacteria such as Bordetella pertussis or Mycoplasma pneumonia.
On the other hand, the chronic bronchitis is a productive cough with a longer lifespan than acute bronchitis. This form of the disease can last for about 3 months to two years.It can also lead to some other health challenges such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It is caused by factors such as tobacco smoking, air pollution, and in some cases, genetics.
How widespread is chronic bronchitis?
As a killer disease, it affects about 5% of US adults and a little above the same figure of children. In 2010, 329 million people became victims of this disease, and three years later in 2013, the disease claimed the lives of 2.9 million people. That’s really deadly.
Stages of Bronchitis
Each bronchitis type has its development stages.We will discuss them one after the other, starting with acute bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis has three stages of the progression. These are listed below:
- Acute Bronchitis Stage 1
This stage of acute bronchitis is characterized by some symptoms such as a dry and non-productive mild cough. It is the least harmful stage of this type of the terminal disease.
- Acute Bronchitis Stage 2
This is the next stage after the disease has passed the first stage. In the second stage, the viral infection that is responsible for the disease spreads to the victim’s lower respiratory tract. This leads to increase in the production of mucus by the victim as cough spreads. In addition to that, the sputum may be white or clear while green sputum or yellow-gray sputum is an indication of the bacterial attack.
- Acute Bronchitis Stage 3
This is the final stage of the killer disease. In most of the patients of acute bronchitis, the infection clears within a couple of days. At this final stage patients are known to continue with coughing for a couple of weeks more because they need more time to heal the damage that has been done to their airways by the infection.
- COPD Stage 1
It is the first stage which is also considered early stage or mild. This stage has one major symptom which is a chronic cough.It is worsened when it is accompanied by mucus from the two lungs.
- Moderately Progressed COPD
This second stage of chronic disease has some symptoms such as a chronic cough with mucus, breathlessness that can be compounded by exercise, and COPD exacerbation.
- Severely progressed COPD Stage 3
It has all the symptoms of Stage 2 along with multiple cases of COPD exacerbations. However, in most cases some of these exacerbations may get severe.
- End Stage Chronic Bronchitis
The final stage is the Stage 4 COPD. This stage is severely progressed chronic that leads to respiratory failure. As a result, the lung cannot retain carbon dioxide.
It also has all the symptoms of Stage 2 COPD and other symptoms such as weight loss, Edema in the feet and legs, and Cyanosis, a case where the lips, nail beds are blue.
Patients with the Stage 4 can improve their health by improving the quality of their life. There are different therapy programs that help a patient to successfully cope with the disease by targeting the damaged tissue with a view to repairing it.
By triggering the healing of lung tissues, lungs will definitely regain its lost strength which will lead to improved breathing for the patient and thus help him or her to live better.
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