What Is Chronic Bronchitis? Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention


Chronic bronchitis is one of the main types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term to describe a group of long-term lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Your doctor may refer to your disease as either chronic bronchitis or COPD.

Most people with COPD have components of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which is the other main form of COPD.

Roughly 9 million people (or 3.6 percent of adults) in the United States are living with chronic bronchitis. The condition is more common in people 65 and older.

RELATED: Symptoms and Diagnosis of COPD

What Is Chronic Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchi, the large tubes that carry air from your windpipe to your lungs.

When the bronchial tubes become inflamed, and the linings swollen, they produce excessive mucus. This mucus, combined with the swelling of the tubes, decreases airflow and results in a phlegmy cough.

Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic.


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