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What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi. It causes the walls of the bronchi to swell. As well, too much mucus is produced in the lungs.

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COPD: Stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and refers to emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Individuals with COPD may also exhibit some degree of asthma.
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Did you know...
  • Chest infections seem to happen more often in people with chronic bronchitis.
  • Smoking makes it difficult for the lungs to fight infections.
  • A patient with advanced bronchitis may not be able to walk or climb stairs without an oxygen tank.
  • It is a major cause of disability.
  • Chronic bronchitis damages your lungs and can damage your heart.

In 80-90% of cases, bronchitis is caused by smoking. Occupational exposure to dusts and some fumes is the other major risk factor. Exposure to second-hand smoke and indoor air pollution may play a role as well.

Not smoking is the best way to prevent bronchitis. Quiting for those diagnosed can slow the progression of the disease.

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For more information about your lungs:
read our national site's information on bronchitis
call the Lung Association's Information Line at 1-800-972-2636


Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are also called COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

If you're looking for information about chronic bronchitis, you should also read our fact sheets on:


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Help for people with COPD.

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Get On Track
Our Get On Track smoking cessation program has already helped thousands of smokers become non-smokers.

When you can't BREATHE, nothing else MATTERS.
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