Keeping ourselves healthy is what makes every part of our lives possible. If we’re not healthy, we often struggle to work, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy our hobbies. Healthy can mean different things to different people, but one way we can think of it is taking the best care possible of our bodies, regardless of our health conditions. If you have chronic bronchitis and experience various symptoms, there are many ways that you can manage them, such as learning about treatment options. Oxygen therapy and other treatment options can ease your symptoms. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Chronic Bronchitis?
If your doctor only recently diagnosed your chronic bronchitis, then there’s a lot you need to learn about this lung disease. Chronic bronchitis is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which describes various lung diseases that make breathing difficult and progressively worse. While bronchitis describes a temporary illness—inflammation of the bronchial tube lining—chronic bronchitis describes a more permanent disease inflaming or irritating the bronchial tubes.
The human body is amazing and contains body parts that we often don’t learn about until something goes wrong, such as the bronchial tubes. The primary bronchial tubes connect the windpipe in your throat to your lungs so you can breathe easily. Secondary and tertiary bronchus connect the air sacs within your lungs so your body can absorb all the oxygen it needs. When these tubes don’t work for any reason, including chronic bronchitis, you struggle to breathe, and your body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to function at its best.
What Are Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms?
Maybe you don’t have a formal diagnosis for your lung problems and want to know what symptoms you should look for in case you have chronic bronchitis. Maybe you were recently diagnosed and want to keep a better eye on your symptoms. Maybe you care for someone with this disease and want to know how to help them better. Whatever the reason, learning the symptoms of chronic bronchitis can help you.
Since this is a lung disease, the most common symptoms involve breathing. Frequent coughing, especially when that cough produces mucus, is one of the most noticeable chronic bronchitis symptoms. Wheezing and shortness—or making a whistling or squeaking sound when breathing—are also common symptoms. Chest pain or tightness, or discomfort while breathing or coughing, is another important chronic bronchitis symptom.
This disease can also affect the entire body, not just the lungs. Fatigue is common, as well as head and body aches. Weight loss, muscle weakness, and frequent respiratory infections may also occur. In some cases, a person with chronic bronchitis will experience swelling in their extremities, especially their legs, ankles, and feet.
What Causes Chronic Bronchitis?
Many of the symptoms we listed above overlap with other illnesses and lung diseases. So, how do you know if you might have chronic bronchitis? One way is to examine the cause of your symptoms. Many who receive a chronic bronchitis diagnosis are at least forty years old and experience long-term exposure to lung irritants such as smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes. While you may have chronic bronchitis regardless of age or exposure level, the combination of age and lung irritant exposure is the most frequent cause.
What Treatments Are Available?
There are various ways to treat chronic bronchitis depending on its severity and your health needs. However, most of these treatments focus on reducing symptoms and increasing patient comfort, not curing chronic bronchitis. Most people will have chronic bronchitis for several months or even several years before they fully recover since the disease can flare up even when you start to feel better. Treating the symptoms can decrease the likelihood of flare-ups and keep patients on the right path to recovery.
Most doctors start treatment with medication. Various medications can relax the muscles in your airways, making it easier to breathe despite inflamed or irritated bronchial tubes. Other medications can reduce persistent wheezing and coughing. Pain medication can also ease chest pain, headaches, and body aches. Vaccinations can reduce the risk of additional respiratory infections while you have chronic bronchitis.
If chronic bronchitis continues to affect your ability to breathe, then your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy provides supplemental oxygen that makes breathing easier and reduces lung stress. You may need this therapy only at specific times, such as during allergy season or until you completely recover from chronic bronchitis.
What Else Should I Know About Oxygen Therapy?
It’s one thing to hear you have a long-term disease that medication can treat. Oxygen therapy sounds a lot more serious and life-changing. Staying strapped to a noisy machine in your home or lugging an oxygen concentrator around sounds more like a prison sentence than a treatment option.
However, regardless of why they started, many on oxygen therapy enjoy full and happy lives. Home oxygen concentrators are smaller and quieter than they’ve ever been before. Portable oxygen concentrators allow you to take care of your health wherever you go, from the grocery store to trips abroad.
The most important thing to remember about oxygen therapy is that it helps you breathe better. Chronic bronchitis irritates or inflames an important but invisible part of your body. Using oxygen is a visible and necessary way to give your lungs a break so your body can heal. Many who use oxygen therapy for their chronic bronchitis recover faster, more often than people who don’t. Your symptoms, such as less coughing and chest pain, should also decrease during this shorter recovery period.
There are various ways to ease chronic bronchitis symptoms, such as medications and oxygen therapy. Regardless of what your doctor prescribes, you can still enjoy a full life while you focus on maintaining your health and recovering from this disease. We at Bridge to Care USA have portable oxygen machines for sale so you can enjoy that full life anywhere you want to go while you recover. Chronic bronchitis, or any other lung disease, shouldn’t hold you back from anything.