Bronchitis describes a number of conditions characterized by an inflammation of the tubes leading to the air sacs in the lungs. It can be the result of several underlying causes, but always exhibits the same symptoms:
- Coughing, generally a dry cough without the presence of mucous;
- Difficulty breathing, generally accompanied by wheezing or irregular breathing;
- Difficulty catching breath, leading to fatigue and a low tolerance for exercise.
In most cases, steroids will alleviate the symptoms and if the underlying cause is treatable (such as a bronchial infection), will speed healing. However, patients may become steroid dependent. For severe acute cases, oxygen may be provided. However, if the condition is chronic, such as that caused by workplace exposure to dust, only removal from the environment will have lasting effects.