Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Airways are the tubes in your lungs that air passes through. They are also called bronchial tubes. When the airways are irritated, thick mucus forms in them. The mucus plugs up the airways and makes it hard for air to get into your lungs.
“Chronic” means that the condition lasts a long time. Chronic bronchitis is bronchitis that lasts longer than 3 months. Chronic bronchitis often occurs with emphysema, and together these diseases are called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Your doctor can diagnose chronic bronchitis. He or she will ask you questions about your symptoms, such as:
-Are you coughing up mucus?
-Are you having trouble breathing?
-Does your chest feel tight?
-Do you smoke cigarettes? How many cigarettes do you smoke each day? How many years have you been smoking?
-How long have you had these symptoms?
If your doctor thinks you have chronic bronchitis, you maybe tested to find out if your lungs are damaged. During this test, you breathe into a machine that measures the amount of air in your lungs. Your doctor may also order blood tests and a chest X-ray.
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