Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchia that connect the lungs to the bronchial tube. This inflammation causes reduction in the air input and output and excess mucus production. If episodes of coughing triggered by mucus production are observed up to three months in a period of two years, this condition is called a chronic bronchitis. An untreated chronic bronchitis can cause emphysema. Smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. Other causes include air pollution, exposure to industrial dust and ashes, chronic asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic lung infections.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lung tissue. It is mostly caused by infections related to bacteria and viruses and in rare cases to fungi and parasites. Pneumonia symptoms include phlegmy cough, fever, shaking chills, wheezing, shortness of breath, intense and stabbing pain in the chest in deep breaths and increased respiratory rate. Pneumonia diagnosis requires physical examination findings, radiological imaging and lab tests. Hospitalization might be required depending on the patient's age, accompanying illnesses, type of infection and overall clinical picture. Pneumonia causes more deaths than any other infectious diseases in the world.

Bacteria related pneumonia can be categorized into two categories: community-onset pneumonia and hospital acquired pneumonia. Risk factors for community-onset pneumonia include advanced age, accompanying illnesses (COPD, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, kidney diseases), alcoholism, smoking, immune deficiencies or suppression.

Pneumonia treatment requires medication to treat the underlying cause of infection. Preventative measures such as vaccination, environmental measures and the treatment of other health issues should also be taken. 
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