Bronchitis causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for delivering air to the lungs. Bronchitis is incredibly common, affecting millions of American adults each year. While anyone can develop bronchitis, those with asthma are more at risk. In fact, asthmatic bronchitis occurs because a person has asthma, which already constricts the vessels within the lungs. The symptoms of both asthma, bronchitis, and asthmatic bronchitis are fairly similar and may get confused for one another. These symptoms include,
- Trouble breathing/shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Mild fever
It’s easy to assume that bronchitis is actually a flare-up of asthma symptoms, which is why you should see an asthma specialist so they can perform certain function tests. It’s a good idea to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve with an inhaler, your symptoms get worse, or your fever goes over 102 degrees F. While it may be challenging to pinpoint whether your symptoms are stemming from asthma or bronchitis, our asthma specialist will be able to provide the proper testing to determine what’s going on and how to best treat it.
What causes asthmatic bronchitis?
While bronchitis can develop from an infection, it can also be caused by certain environmental or lifestyle triggers including,
- Cigarette smoke
- Air pollution
- Certain chemicals
- Outdoor or indoor allergens
- Certain medications
- Changes in weather
When you come into the office, we will perform certain tests to measure lung function as well as how quickly a person can force air out of their lungs. If you are coughing or experiencing breathing problems, a chest X-ray may also be performed.
How is asthmatic bronchitis treated?
If you are diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis the good news is that it’s treated the same way as you would asthma or regular bronchitis. Common treatment options include:
- A fast-acting inhaler (also known as a rescue inhaler)
- Long-acting corticosteroid and bronchodilator
- A humidifier
- Lifestyle changes such as placing a HEPA air filter in your home and washing bedclothes regularly in hot water
Your asthma specialist can provide you with simple lifestyle changes you can make to avoid certain asthma bronchitis triggers to prevent another flare-up. If a bacterial infection is to blame, your doctor will most likely also prescribe antibiotics.
If you have asthma, it’s even more important that you have an asthma specialist that you are turning to for care and monitoring. They can also help you prevent bronchitis by providing you with helpful strategies and tips to keep you safe and healthy all year long.