The common phrase “breathe easy and deep” can take on a different meaning if a loved one or you have asthma. You’re also probably familiar with shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, plus the anxiety and fear that sets in during an asthma attack.
However, thins can get even more difficult if you come down with bronchitis and you have asthma. But although the hallmark symptoms of bronchitis, breathing difficulties and wheezing, are very similar to asthma symptoms, there are specific vital differences.
Is it Asthma or Bronchitis?
Asthma is basically a lung condition in which the airways narrows and produces excess mucous that, in turn, leads to wheezing, difficulty breathing, and coughing. It also comes with a whistling noise when breathing out and chests pain or tightness. Ask your family doctor here in Orem if this happens to you.
But although not everyone will experience all the hallmark warning signs of asthma, wheezing is probably the most classic symptom that is caused by clogged bronchial passages. On the other hand, bronchitis occurs when the large airways are inflamed. This leads to less air coming in and out of your lungs.
If you have bronchitis, you might cough up mucus or phlegm and feel chest pain, fatigue, breathing difficulties, wheezing, and chills or a slight fever. But the primary warning sign that differentiates bronchitis from asthma is a productive cough that lasts for more than five days up to three weeks.
This persistent coughing is associated with producing phlegm or sputum that can be clear or discolored.
When You Have Bronchitis and Asthma at The Same Time
It is especially distressing when individuals who have asthma also come down with bronchitis because this will make their asthma symptoms worse. In cases like this, your family doctor might call your condition asthmatic bronchitis, which is basically bronchitis with wheezing.
Individuals with asthma who also develop bronchitis are usually prescribed inhalers used for dilating their bronchial passages to ease their breathing difficulties. They might also be put on OTC or over the counter pain medications as well as cold medications for their accompanying cold symptoms.
This is essentially the same treatment for individuals who have bronchitis but don’t have asthma. In more severe cases, asthmatics that also have bronchitis might be prescribed oral or inhaled steroids.
When Bronchitis Leads to Asthma
Also, more severe cases of bronchitis could even lead to asthma. The reason for this is that bronchitis is typically a result of a bacterial or viral infection. In most individuals, bronchitis will go away once the infection is cleared.
If it doesn’t, it’s highly likely that bronchitis will become asthma. This is a common cause of adult-onset asthma. Put simply, and the infection caused the airways to change in a manner that triggered classic symptoms of asthma.
The bottom line is, while asthma and bronchitis are very closely related, they are different lung conditions. And even if it’s very easy to mistake asthma for bronchitis and vice versa, knowing exactly what makes them different from each other can help make certain that you get accurate treatment for whatever’s causing your symptoms. (See also: 7 Steps to Take When Asthma Knocks on the Door)
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provide in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.