Bronchitis occurs or is caused by respiratory infections or other situations in which the mucous membranes that line the bronchi or main airways of the lungs become inflamed. People with respiratory infections often develop bronchitis since the same virus that cause colds and pharyngitis may also spread into the bronchi.
People who are otherwise healthy usually get over bronchitis in a few days. Those with another condition, called chronic bronchitis, experience more serious prolonged and recurring attacks along with a slow deterioration of the lungs.
You lungs are in contact with your environment every day and are thus vulnerable to any particles in the air that may contain viruses or irritants such as cigarette smoke or commercial fumes. Airborne allergens can also contribute to the problems your lungs have to deal with. Almost all of us develop a case of acute bronchitis at one time or another. Smokers and people who work in jobs in which industrial fumes or airborne particles are present experience a higher risk of developing bronchitis. If you are a smoker, consider quitting. If you believe you are having respiratory problems due to your breathing environment at your job, consider a new occupation. Your body can usually repair itself if you remove the problem as soon as possible.
If you keep developing bronchitis and do not know the reason, consult a doctor to determine the cause. Repeated occurances can damage the lining of the bronchi and reduce your ability to keep your lungs cleared of mucus from the air passages and could lead to chronic bronchitis.
Another cause of acute bronchitis is heart failure. Heart failure can cause a congestion of the lungs and victims may experience a problem in clearing the mucus from their lungs. As mentioned before, bronchitis often is the secondary problem resulting from another condition or infection in the body.