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Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes
which carry air to and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause colds and flu (influenza). The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition.
Factors that increase your risk of bronchitis include:
Although a single episode of bronchitis usually isn't cause for concern, it can lead to pneumonia in some people. Repeated bouts of bronchitis, however, may mean that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
During the first few days of illness, it can be difficult to distinguish the signs and symptoms of bronchitis from those of a common cold.
During the physical exam, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen closely to your lungs as you breathe.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest the following tests:
Most cases of acute bronchitis get better without treatment, usually within a couple of weeks.
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