By Amy Cheung
Chronic bronchitis is the inflammation or swelling of the air passageways (bronchi) in the upper respiratory system. This is usually accompanied by the excessive production of mucus. Chronic bronchitis can manifest as many different symptoms, and is often hard to diagnose because the symptoms are so similar to other diseases that affect the lungs and respiratory system. Today, one in twenty Americans currently suffers chronic bronchitis. Even though the number has been steadily falling since the 70s, the number of patients suffering from chronic bronchitis still concerns doctors as it is often fatal. Below are some common signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis:
Coughing – Coughing caused by chronic bronchitis is usually first noticed in the early morning, just after waking up. The individual may cough for several hours after waking up. As the disease progresses, this coughing will last for longer into the day, and in some cases never goes away.
Shortness of Breath – This occurs in most people suffering from chronic bronchitis. The shortness of breath may be aggravated by overworking or even just mild activity. As the disease progresses the shortness of breath may even come from simply walking a short distance, or walking down some stairs.
Respiratory Infections – Chronic bronchitis is often the cause of respiratory infections. Because more mucus is produced by the body in those suffering from respiratory infections, this makes the upper respiratory system very damp and warm. This can be a breeding ground of sorts for infection, and makes infections very hard to treat once they are contracted.
Fatigue – Fatigue is often experienced by individuals suffering from chronic bronchitis. They become tired just after waking, or other random times throughout the day. This is because the amount of oxygen in their blood is significantly less than those who don’t suffer from the disease.
Swelling of the Legs and Ankles – Because chronic bronchitis can often lead to further complications, due to a lack of oxygen in the blood, it may cause the skin to turn blue or the extremities to swell in the later stages of chronic bronchitis. Swelling of the legs is also an indication of congestive heart failure, so individuals experiencing this symptom should see a doctor right away.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com: Chronic Bronchitis Signs and Symptoms