Tag Archives: lung condition

Asthma Vs Chronic Bronchitis

We took a look at acute bronchitis in our last post. Next up is chronic bronchitis, which is characterized by a mucus-producing cough and related symptoms that last longer than 3 months. In cases of chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the respiratory tract is persistent and never resolves itself completely. Over 80% of cases are caused by smoking or long-term second hand exposure to smoke. In other cases, long-term exposure to chemical irritants or heavy pollution may cause chronic bronchitis (which is a subtype of COPD).

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in chest
  • A dry or productive cough
  • Excess mucus production
  • Feeling of general malaise
  • Mild chills or fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Is it Bronchitis or Asthma?

If you seem to continually get bouts of acute bronchitis, there may be more at the heart of the matter. Often people who are diagnosed with bronchitis several times a year actually have asthma (or a COPD-related condition). There are different types of asthma such as exercise induced, allergic-asthma and seasonal asthma, all of which produce symptoms that can mimic bronchitis. Because asthma also causes excess mucus and swelling (of the muscles surrounding the bronchial tract), flare-ups can be easily mistaken for acute bronchitis.

Asthmatic Bronchitis

Alternately, it is very possible to experience both conditions simultaneously. Asthmatics are prone to a special type or bronchitis called asthmatic bronchitis. This happens when the lining of the airways is swollen (bronchitis), along with the muscles surrounding the airways (asthma). This double respiratory whammy can be very serious and is often treated with steroids. Asthmatic bronchitis is typically not contagious (unless it was initially caused by a virus).

What is the Difference Between Chronic Bronchitis and Asthma?

While both chronic bronchitis and asthma are chronic conditions of the respiratory system that involve swelling, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath, they do have some marked differences as well:

  1. Asthmatics typically experience more symptoms in the night times such as wheezing and chest tightness, while COPD sufferers have a characteristic morning cough that produces sputum.
  2. Asthmatics commonly have related allergies and sensitivities that sometimes act as triggers for asthma attacks, whereas chronic bronchitis is most often associated with long-term exposure to harmful chemicals.
  3. While doctors may prescribe some similar puffers to help control both conditions, treatment can be quite different.
  4. The most notable difference between the two conditions is the prognosis. Generally speaking, asthma is more controllable and does less damage than COPD-related conditions like chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is more of a progressive disease that can leave destruction of the lungs in its wake. When a person has an asthma attack, the structures of the lungs return to normal with treatment. However, the lungs of a person with COPD may keep deteriorating slowly.

Both conditions require long-term maintenance and follow-up to ensure the treatment plan in place is still effective. Our DocChat physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to provide any assistance you may need. Thanks for visiting!




10 Great Types of Exercise for Asthmatics

When you’re an asthmatic, exercise can be a daunting notion that prompts images of wheezing, coughing and chest tightening, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While intense cardiovascular exercise can trigger dangerous asthma attacks, studies have proven that routine light-to-moderate exercise is actually quite beneficial for most asthmatics and can help increase lung capacity. Let’s look at some of the better types of exercise for asthmatics to try:

  1. Walking is perhaps tied with swimming as the best exercise choice for asthmatics. It gets you moving and gets that heart rate up without making your lungs head into spasm territory. One recent study found that those who walked multiple times weekly showed improved overall control of asthma symptoms than those who didn’t. Walking is also great because you can do it outdoors if conditions are okay, or take it indoors on a treadmill when winter air becomes too harsh on the lungs.
  2. Swimming is another ideal exercise type for asthmatics. It can be as mild or as vigorous as you choose, and the humid environment may help breathing and help to loosen mucus in asthmatics.
  3. Yoga can be doubly beneficial for asthmatics as it not only works out the body at a slow, lung-friendly pace, but the deep breathing techniques central to the practice are great for getting the stale air out of an asthmatic’s lungs and helping increase breath capacity. Namaste, indeed!
  4. Certain sports like volleyball and baseball are great choices as they aren’t too strenuous and combine periods of rest with periods of light to moderate activity. Basketball or football would not be good choices, however, because they require longer periods of high-intensity running and exertion.
  5. Weight training wouldn’t cause the lungs to work in overdrive the same as intense cardiovascular exercise would.
  6. Leisurely level-ground biking – Fast-paced or uneven terrain biking may be too hard on an exercise-induced asthmatic, however, light, level-ground biking could be just what the doctor ordered. It may provide enough resistance and require enough energy that it can help expand the lungs without inciting an attack.
  7. (Light) interval training – high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a very popular exercise trend as of late, for many good reasons. If you are severely asthmatic, you may want to leave off the “high intensity” part and just focus on any kind of exercise done in bursts between little rest breaks.
  8. Balance ball exercises – There are many balance ball exercise regimens out there that wouldn’t serve as an obstacle for an asthmatic, but would provide for them a well-balanced workout.
  9. Ballet – would probably be one of the least cardiovascular-based dance types for an asthmatic to more comfortably try. Ballet is an excellent workout, requiring the use of almost all your muscles and instilling great bodily discipline.
  10. Martial arts is another activity that allows for rest breaks between short bursts of activity, which can be very beneficial for asthmatics. It is also good for breath training and mental well-being.

We hope this post gave you some good exercise ideas for the asthmatics in your life! Thanks for visiting DocChat, if you have any medical questions remember our board certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to help!