Both Bronchitis and Asthma cause breathing difficulty and are lung diseases in which the lower airways swell, that causes inflammation. While bronchitis can be a short term illness which lasts for several weeks, asthma can be a recurring disease which causes airway narrowing at regular intervals. Even though similarities exist between the two diseases, asthma and bronchitis are two different ailments with distinct treatment strategies.
Difference Between Bronchitis and Asthma
- Bronchitis is caused due to an infection in the airway coating with a cough, which can last for several weeks. Some of these infections are due to bacteria and once the infection cures, the airway lining is back to normal. It usually occurs to people who regularly smoke or exposed to environment pollution. It can cause permanent airway impairment or persisting breathing problems.
- Asthma is a long-lasting breathing disease that causes swelling and infection in the airways. Asthma patients usually suffer repeated episodes of airway blockage. It can be treated to reduce the recurrences through medicines.
Signs and Symptoms
- Although the symptoms of both diseases are similar, there are some distinct differences exist between Asthma and Bronchitis. Asthma patients experience breath shortness, tightness in the chest and wheezing during a typical attack. Whereas, severe bronchitis usually causes a hacking cough sometimes without any phlegm release. Prolonged bronchitis is typically accompanied with wheezing and continuous phlegm releasing cough. Both these diseases can be critical with acute outburst of the symptoms which require immediate medical attention.
Since acute bronchitis is usually due to viral infection, antibiotics are not used and it gets healed on its own. On rare occasions inhaled medicines are prescribed which can help open the congested airways. The treatment for chronic bronchitis usually comprises of a series of processes including, antibiotics, steroids to lessen inflammation and vaccinations for pneumonia and influenza.
Two main strategies are used in the treatment of asthma; usage of special rescue medicines in the occurrence of abrupt flare-ups and preventing the exposure to triggers in order to reduce the occurrence and severity of attacks. The treatment also intends to clear the airways from congestion and also to reduce inflammation. Inhaled medicines are typically used for asthma patients in order to manage inflammation. Other long term asthma treatment medicines include leukotriene modifiers and theophylline.
Although many symptoms are similar for both bronchitis and asthma, both require distinct care and treatment depending on the severity of attacks.