Difference Between Asthma and Bronchitis

Asthma and Bronchitis are inflammatory conditions of airways. Bronchitis is defined as inflammation of the main airways. This is usually followed by a viral infection. Following an upper respiratory infection (Runny nose etc) the airway may be infected and inflamed. Patient with bronchitis may experience difficulty in breathing, coughing out sputum, chest discomfort, wheezing and sometimes low grade fever. The children, elderly and the heavy smokers will get bronchitis more frequently. Usually bronchitis is caused by viral infections and will resolve by own with out any specific treatment.

Asthma is an inflammatory condition of airways. Acute asthma is a life threatening condition and need immediate medical care. Asthmatic attack may be triggered by cold air, dust, or strong emotions. Asthmatic attacks can be precipitated by the respiratory infections. Asthmatic patient will suffer with cough, wheeze, and chest discomfort. In severe asthma they cannot talk or complete the sentences.

Asthmatic patient should keep their medication with themselves. The frequent wheezers will be given prophylaxis treatment with corticosteroids and definite treatment with salbutamaol. These drugs are available as pumps which can be used as inhaler. If no pump available they will be nebulised in the hospital. When the airways are obstructed they will feel difficulty to expel the air from the lungs (expiratory wheeze).

Childhood asthma has a good prognosis. They will be symptom free after their teenage.

In summary,

• Bronchitis is a condition followed by a viral infection.and this will usually resolve with out any treatment.

• Asthma is a condition need definite treatment and severe asthma is life threatening. Asthma may be increased by dust pollens and cold air.

• Smoking will increase the severity of both bronchitis and asthma.