bronchitis

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Related to Acute bronchitis: pneumonia

bronchitis

(brŏnkī`tĭs), inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes. It can be caused by viral or bacterial infections or by allergic reactions to irritants such as tobacco smoke. The disease is characterized by low-grade fever, chest pains, hoarseness, and productive cough. Acute bronchitis is rarely serious in otherwise healthy adults, but it can be dangerous in infants, children, or adults who suffer from underlying respiratory disease, especially emphysema. It may subside or, particularly with continued exposure to irritants, may persist and progress to chronic bronchitis or pneumonia. The more prolonged chronic bronchitis is frequently secondary to a serious underlying disorder. Chronic bronchitis affected 71,099 persons in the United States in 1986. Cigarette smoking is the risk factor most often associated with chronic bronchitis. Bronchial inflammation can be severe; cough and bronchial spasms are treated with antihistamines, cough suppressants, and bronchodilators. Antibiotics are used if there is evidence of bacterial invasion.

Bronchitis

 

inflammatory disease of the bronchi that predominantly involves the mucous membrane. Bronchitis is one of the most frequently encountered diseases of the respiratory organs in man; it often occurs with simultaneous affection of the upper respiratory tract. Bronchitis arises as a result of viral or bacterial infection (influenza, measles, whooping cough, and others), the effect of toxic substances (certain war gases, a number of industrial poisons, irritating dust), smoking, and so on. The general condition of the body and its resistance, which changes under the influence of disease, unfavorable working and living conditions, chilling, and harmful habits (alcohol, and so forth), are of great significance in the origin and recurrence of bronchitis.

Acute and chronic forms of bronchitis are distinguished. In acute bronchitis the bronchial mucosa swell, their blood vessels dilate and are overfilled with blood (hyperemia), and an exudate appears, which includes epithelial cells of the mucosa and blood elements (leukocytes, erythrocytes). In severe cases other layers of the bronchi also undergo changes. In chronic bronchitis, changes are observed in all structural elements of the bronchial wall, and the tissue of the lung is also involved in the process.

The most frequent symptoms of acute bronchitis are general weakness, chills, elevation of body temperature (not always), and, most important, a cough. Catarrh of the upper respiratory tract often precedes acute bronchitis. The cough is at first dry, sometimes with difficult expectoration of sputum, which then becomes mucopurulent. These very symptoms are, however, also observed in exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. Subsequently, if chronic bronchitis progresses, dyspnea, acceleration of the pulse rate, and cyanosis of the lips may occur—all as a result of the functional disturbance of the organs of respiration and blood circulation. Acute bronchitis lasts from a few days to a few weeks; chronic bronchitis lasts months or years with exacerbations (relapses) from time to time.

Treatment of bronchitis is directed at curing the basic disease causing the bronchitis, increasing the body’s resistance, restoration of bronchial patency, and elimination of inflammatory manifestations in the bronchi. Bed rest, cupping, mustard plasters, antibiotics, sulfanilamide preparations, and multiple vitamins are prescribed. Physiotherapy and health-resort treatment are effectively used in chronic bronchitis (southern shores of the Crimea, Kislovodsk, and elsewhere).

Prophylaxis includes toughening the body, preventing the illnesses that accompany bronchitis, and removing whatever harmful factors are present (smoking, industrial dust, chilling, and so forth). Early detection and careful treatment of colds, tonsillitis, and inflammations of the accessory sinuses of the nose (sinusitis) have substantial significance; careful treatment of acute bronchitis is necessary to prevent chronic bronchitis.

REFERENCES

Rubel’, A. N. Voprosy patologii i klinika zabolevanii legkikh, studies 5-6. Leningrad, 1925.
Esipova, I. K. Voprosy patologii khronicheskikh nespetsificheskikh vospalenii legkikh. Moscow, 1956. (Bibliography.)
Georgievskaia, L. M. “Bronkhity.” In Mnogotomnoe rukovodstvo po vnutrennim bolezniam, vol. 3. Moscow, 1964.

N. S. MOLCHANOV

Bronchitis in animals. In animals, bronchitis is caused by chilling or overheating of the animal or by inhalation of air contaminated with dust and irritating gases. Bronchitis accompanies certain infectious diseases (tuberculosis, foot-and-mouth disease, and others) and helminthiases (infection by Dictyocaulus). The disease is promoted by keeping animals in damp, poorly ventilated buildings and by deficiency of vitamin A in the feed. Types of bronchitis are distinguished according to their duration—that is, acute (ten to 15 days) and chronic (weeks and even years). Symptoms include cough, nasal discharge, hoarseness, and sometimes dyspnea. Bronchitis may be complicated by bronchopneumonia and other diseases of the respiratory organs. Treatment consists of removal of the causes of illness and administration of expectorants, antibiotics, and other preparations. The major prophylactic measure to be taken is observance of the rules of hygiene in the housing, feeding, and maintaining of animals.

REFERENCE

Vnutrennie nezaraznye bolezni sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh. [3rd ed.] Moscow, 1967.

N. M. PREOBRAZHENSKII

bronchitis

[bräŋ′kīd·əs]
(medicine)
An inflammation of the bronchial tubes.

bronchitis

inflammation of the bronchial tubes, characterized by coughing, difficulty in breathing, etc., caused by infection or irritation of the respiratory tract
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