How To Treat Chronic Bronchitis
You are a cigarette smoker, and you have developed a constant cough that produces thick sputum. It means very simply that you have developed a “smoker’s cough.” You ignore the cough and continue smoking; that cough now leads to wheezing followed by difficulty in breathing. By now, you may be thinking of going to the doctor, but you can’t quit your smoking habit.
Now comes respiratory problems followed by weakness and weight loss. You finally decide to see a doctor. Your instinct and/or friends tell you that you probably have chronic bronchitis and you should screen for possible lung cancer; because chronic bronchitis can lead to potentially fatal lung disease.
The minute your doctor sees you, and learns that you are an addicted smoker, he knows that you have lung damage and you have contacted acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis leads to chronic bronchitis. If your doctor learns that your smoker’s cough has recurred for two consecutive years, this confirms his suspicions even more; but he must submit you to a number of tests for confirmation of diagnosis.
So, the doctor gets down to taking your medical history and performing various lung functions and breathing tests. He may use a spirometer which can reveal any obstruction to the flow of air being exhaled. Undoubtedly a chest X-ray will be ordered. If the airways are obstructed, that confirms a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis. Tests will also be performed to exclude diseases other than chronic bronchitis, which may cause similar symptoms. Some of these diseases are tuberculosis or silicosis.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a combination of drugs would be prescribed. Antibiotics and other medications would help in opening up the obstructive mucus so it can be coughed up easily. Self-treatment measures are also extremely effective, the main one being to stop smoking. It is also important to avoid exposure to second hand smoke. Enroll in one of the numerous programs designed to help smokers quit smoking. It is also necessary to drink plenty of fluids to thin bronchial mucus. Use a steam vaporizer and avoiding high air pollution. Avoid anything that can cause an allergic reaction as these aggravate lung problems.
Chronic bronchitis does not go away on its own. You become increasingly susceptible to respiratory infections. This condition can cause incapacity and can lead to lung disease such as lung cancer. Remember, that smoker’s cough is the red light to stop smoking, and the green light to pay your doctor a visit. Follow up with frequent check-ups. Failing to do so could be could be detrimental.