Bronchitis: A nasty infection or inflamation connecting windpipe to lungs
Bronchitis is an inflammation or infection of the lining of the tubes connecting the windpipe with the lungs. With bronchitis, less air is able to flow to and from the lungs, making breathing difficult and labored. There are two kinds of bronchitis:
- The most common: acute bronchitis, involving brief bouts of coughing with mucus production, when you have a severe cold.
- Chronic bronchitis sufferers have a mucus-producing cough for at least three months of the year over two successive years.
Chronic bronchitis affects more than 14-million Americans, most of whom are female. In 1997, chronic bronchitis was linked to 100,000 deaths, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.
People can be affected at any age, but those over 45 are especially at risk. While air pollution and industrial dust and fumes are causes, cigarette smoking is by far the most common of chronic bronchitis.