Chronic bronchitis is the long-term inflammation of the tubes responsible for transporting air to and from the air sacs of the lungs (bronchi). Chronic bronchitis is one of the two conditions that fall under the under the chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) umbrella.
Unlike acute bronchitis, which develops after the flu and goes after a week or two, chronic bronchitis is caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke or other lung irritants and puts you at a greater risk for potentially serious complications like severe lung damage.
That is why if you experience its symptoms, such as persistent cough; symptoms of asthma (e.g., chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, etc.); high fever; and crackling sounds when inhaling or exhaling, you should get yourself checked by a lung expert – a pulmonologist. These symptoms can be similar to other lung diseases; a comprehensive medical evaluation is crucial for ensuring you receive appropriate treatment and ultimately maintain your quality of life.
Let’s discuss the specific steps a pulmonologist takes to diagnose and treat chronic bronchitis.
Diagnosing Chronic Bronchitis
To arrive at the accurate diagnosis, your pulmonologist will evaluate your symptoms, review your personal and family medical history as well as discuss the possibility of exposure to lung irritants, particularly cigarette smoke. Your doctor may also carry out or order certain tests, such as the following:
- Lung function test – to determine the amount of air you inhale and exhale as well as whether your lungs transport enough oxygen to your blood
- Medical imaging (chest X-ray or CT scan) – to get detailed images of your lungs and help detect inflammation
- Arterial blood gas – to assess the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood as well as measure the acidity of your blood
Treating Chronic Bronchitis
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your pulmonologist will create a treatment plan, which may include some of the following approaches:
- Lifestyle modifications (e.g., smoking cessation, avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke and pollution, ensuring the air at home is not dry by using a humidifier, etc.)
- Medications – (e.g., bronchodilators to open up your airways, oral steroids, and antibiotics)
- Oxygen therapy – Your pulmonologist may recommend that you get supplemental oxygen if you don’t have enough oxygen in your body.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation – This combines education, nutritional advice, counseling, and exercise training.
- Ventilation therapy – This consists of the use of breathing devices, such as bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP).
Board-Certified Pulmonologist Near Me in Weatherford, TX
For top-notch pulmonary care in Weatherford, Texas, team up with Dr. Olusegun Oseni here at The Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas. A renowned, board-certified pulmonologist, Dr. Oseni uses the knowledge he gained from extensive training and years of experience to help patients, like you, improve or restore their lung function and breathe easily again. On top of that, he takes a holistic approach to care, which means he customizes his treatments with an eye toward improving patients’ overall health and well-being.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Oseni, call our office at (817) 594-9993 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!