What is the treatment for asthmatic bronchitis?
Asthmatic bronchitis refers to inflammation of the bronchial tubes carrying air inside the lungs (bronchitis) that occurs because of asthma (a medical condition in which the airways become swollen and narrowed and may produce excess mucus). Although there is currently no cure for asthmatic bronchitis, it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. Medications are taken by mouth or inhaled and they generally act by opening up or clearing the airways. Learning to manage flare-ups and controlling symptoms may be the best possible ways to treat asthmatic bronchitis. Below are a few common ways to treat asthmatic bronchitis.
Bronchodilators: salbutamol, salmeterol, formoterol, ipratropium and theophilline
- These drugs have the ability to dilate (relax) the bronchioles (smooth muscle of the airways) and allow better airflow through the lungs.
Steroids: beclomethasone, budesonide and fluticasone
- Both oral and inhaled corticosteroids are used to treat asthmatic bronchitis.
- They may reduce swelling in the airways. These are generally used for immediate relief of acute symptoms.
- Common side effect of these medications is suppression of the immune system.
Treating secretions: guaifenesin
- Excess mucus is a complication of asthmatic bronchitis and can increase breathing difficulties.
- It is important to keep mucous secretions thin by staying hydrated.
- Drinking a lot of fluid and using a cool mist humidifier can thin secretions and make them easier to clear.
- Medications such as guaifenesin are used to loosen mucus secretions. Guaifenesin is available over-the-counter (OTC).
- These medications block chemicals that cause the airways to narrow and tighten.
- Antibiotics are used in the treatment of asthmatic bronchitis only if active bacterial infection is identified.
- Temporary administration of oxygen or even hospitalization may be required in very severe cases of asthmatic bronchitis, but this is usually rare.
Treatment also involves avoiding triggers by following these tips
What is asthmatic bronchitis?
Asthmatic bronchitis occurs when asthma and severe bronchitis co-exist. In general, asthmatic bronchitis is not contagious because the condition is generally caused by irritants, not by an infection. However, in some cases, it can be either a bacterial or viral infection. In those cases, bronchitis is contagious. Symptoms of asthmatic bronchitis are a combination of the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, which may include
Triggers and risk factors:
- People who suffer from allergies, such as hay fever, neurodermatitis or cradle cap, have an increased risk of bronchial asthma (in response to exposure to triggers including dust, mold or pollen)
- Changes in the weather
- Smokers and passive smokers are also more susceptible
- Frequent respiratory tract infections, which also can lead to the development of bronchial asthma
- Risk factors may also include low birth weight and excess weight in childhood
- Allergic asthma: Symptoms are triggered by an allergic reaction, which means that the immune system of the affected person reacts more intensely than necessary to an often harmless substance. Allergic asthma often initially presents in early childhood and adolescence and is often explained by a hereditary predisposition.
- Intrinsic asthma: Initially presents between the ages of 30 to 40 years old and is caused by very different factors. Triggers may include respiratory tract infections, a genetic incompatibility with certain medications or chemical or toxic substances from the environment (smog, ozone, dust, etc.).
Asthma is prevalent in severely overweight women. Specific characteristics also are associated with asthma in smokers.
- Spirometry (lung function test): This involves an examination of the quantity of inhaled and exhaled air. The doctor also examines the lungs through auscultation (the stethoscope) to determine the symptomatic breathing sounds.
- Provocation test: To detect a hypersensitive bronchial system, the patient inhales a test substance. If the bronchi respond to this stimulus by narrowing, there is hypersensitivity.
- Bronchospasm test: A lung function test is initially performed for this test. If the bronchi are constricted at this time, the patient inhales a medication to dilate the bronchi. If the measured value shows an improvement, the diagnosis is confirmed.
- Allergy test: If connection with an allergy is suspected, then an allergy test is carried out (blood test with subsequent skin test).
- Other investigations may be performed to exclude other lung diseases.
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