Each time you inhale, the air makes its way into your nose and mouth. This air flows down your throat and bronchial tubes. Those tubes need to be open to allow air to reach the lungs where the oxygen passes into the blood for transporting to your body tissues.
When the airways become inflamed, the air finds it harder to reach the lungs. And when less air reaches the lungs, you may feel shortness of breath.Wheezing and coughing may occur to extract more oxygen through tightened passageways.
Asthma and bronchitis are the two inflammatory conditions of airways. Caused by viral or bacterial infections, acute bronchitis causes inflammation along the lining of airways that usually subsides itself after running its course.
Chronic bronchitis lasts longer and is triggered by long-term exposure to environmental irritants. And, asthma is an inflammatory condition that results in tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways and swelling that causes narrowing of airways.
When both asthma and acute bronchitis are present, this medical condition is called asthmatic bronchitis. Here are the signs & symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatments of asthmatic bronchitis.
What Are The Causes Of Asthmatic Bronchitis?
A lot of triggers cause release of inflammatory substances. Some of the most common triggers of asthmatic bronchitis are:
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Tobacco smoke
- Strong emotions like laughing and crying
- Changes in weather
- Certain medications such as aspirin and beta-blockers
- Allergens like mold, pollen, dust, food or pet dander
What Are the Symptoms of Asthmatic Bronchitis?
The signs and symptoms of this condition involves a combination of symptoms experienced in asthma and bronchitis. You may have few or all of these symptoms:
- Tightness of chest
- Excess production of mucus
- Shortness of breath
You may think whether asthmatic bronchitis is infectious or not. That’s because bronchitis itself can be caused due to virus or bacteria that happen to be infectious. However, chronic asthmatic bronchitis isn’t usually contagious.
How Is It Diagnosed?
If you have been facing any of the above symptoms, take an appointment of your doctor. You’ll be asked a number of questions regarding the symptoms you are experiencing and your medical history.
For conducting physical examination, your doctor may recommend tests such as:
Peak expiratory flow: This test will measure the force of air you exhale into the mouthpiece of device that is called peak expiratory flow meter.
Spirometry: This test will measure the lung function while inhaling and exhaling a mouthpiece that is attached to a device called spirometer.
Chest X-ray: This radiology test produces images of the chest to identify other conditions that may be leading to coughing and breathing problems.
Medicinal Treatments for Asthmatic Bronchitis
The medicinal treatments of asthmatic bronchitis are same as the medications and treatments used for treating asthma and bronchitis. These treatments include:
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Long-acting anticholinergics
- Short-acting bronchodilators like albuterol that help in opening the airway for getting short-term relief
- Leukotriene modifiers
- A humidifier or steam
- Cromolyn or theophylline
- Bacterial respiratory infection may be treated using antibiotics
- Long-acting bronchodilators taken along with inhaled corticosteroids
- Combination inhalers that contain both steroid and bronchodilator
The treatment also involves keeping away from asthma triggers by taking care of these tips:
- Using a HEPA air filter in your home.
- Washing hands on a frequent basis to avoid spreading of infection.
- Washing bed linens and blankets in hot water.
- Avoiding smoking and staying away from other smokers.
- Vacuum cleaning the dust daily.
- Keeping the pets out of bedroom.