Bronchitis

Bronchitis is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.

Bronchitis is a condition caused by the inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes (the tubes carrying air between your throat and lungs). Bronchitis can either be acute (sudden) or chronic (long-lasting).

Acute bronchitis often develops from a cold (a viral infection) or other respiratory tract infections, but can also be caused by environmental exposure to tobacco smoke, pollutants or heartburn.

Acute bronchitis usually resolves within a few days without long-term consequences. A single acute bronchitis episode does not warrant concern, but can lead to pneumonia, particularly in older adults, infants, smokers and people with chronic respiratory disorders or heart problems. Repeated episodes of acute bronchitis may suggest chronic bronchitis, asthma, other lung disorders and increased risk of developing lung cancer (in smokers).

Chronic bronchitis is caused by constant irritation or inflammation of the bronchial lining, most commonly from tobacco smoking.

It is considered the more serious condition because chronic inflammation can lead to thickening of the bronchial lining causing permanent damage.

Seek professional healthcare if:

  • Your cough is severe or prevents you from sleeping
  • Your cough produces bloody, green or yellow mucous
  • Your cough lasts more than three week
  • You have a low-grade fever that persists more than three days, or a fever higher than 38.3 ° C (101 ° F)
  • You have chronic lung or heart problems
  • You have repeated bouts of bronchitis

Symptoms of Bronchitis

Possible symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Production of clear, white, yellowish-gray or green mucous
  • Shortness of breath, increased by mild exertion
  • Chest discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Low fever and chills

Treatment of Bronchitis at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of bronchitis treatment are to clear airways of mucous, resolve inflammation and heal bronchial tube lining, identify and address triggers and causes of bronchitis to prevent recurrence and manage associated health conditions and possible side effects of conventional treatments.

Conventional treatment for bronchitis includes lifestyle changes and a variety of medications including cough suppressants, acetaminophen, aspirin, antibiotics or inhaled corticosteroids. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.

For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your bronchitis symptoms.

Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:

  • Identifying specific treatment goals
  • Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
  • Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
  • Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating bronchitis may be to:

  • Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., smoking, exposure to environmental irritants) or general health (e.g., depressed immune system function due to other illness, heartburn) that may be contributing to your bronchitis symptoms
  • Resolving infections using antimicrobial botanical (herbal) medicines
  • Clearing mucous, reducing inflammation and healing bronchial tissue using botanical (herbal) medicines
  • Prevent recurrence by improving immune system activity using botanical (herbal) medicines

Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:

Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.

References

Bronchitis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 10]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bronchitis/DS00031.

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