Type: Exploratory
Pages: 8 | Words: 2141
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Bronchitis and pneumonia are the most frequent respiratory diseases that start in the lower respiratory tracks. It is important to know more about these sicknesses as it can prevent us from making mistakes in their distinction, treatment, and prevention. Lack of medical knowledge or even ignorance does not give us a chance to detect a disease on time or pay attention to anxious signs. Such unawareness can result in severity of the disease and, consequently, various complications.

The purpose of this essay is fill up a gap in medical knowledge, make us capable to recognize sicknesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, their symptoms and treatment, make us more careful and alert to ourselves and our relatives.

Bronchitis is a medical condition that reflects in inflammation of the bronchus. The bronchial tubes are supposed to supply air to the lungs. Bronchitis can arise as a consequence of the upper track respiratory infections which are improperly and untimely cured. The disease can be of a viral or bacterial etymology. Today medical researchers state 80% of bronchitis cases are primarily caused by viruses, and other 20% appear on the background of superinfection.

Types, Clinical Manifestations and Treatment of Bronchitis

We identify two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. The contaminants of acute bronchitis are various microorganisms such as pneumococcus, pneumatic bacillus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and other bacteria. Doug Knutson and Chad Braun from Ohio State University School of Medicine and Public Health, in their article “Diagnosis and Management of Acute Bronchitis”, point out, “an infectious or noninfectious trigger leads to bronchial epithelial injury, which causes an inflammatory response with airway hyper responsiveness and mucus production” (Knutson, Braun, 2002). Thus, these bacteria reside on the mucus membrane of the respiratory tracks with penetrating capability once the immune system is getting weaker. Further inflammation of the air tubes reflects in coughing and excess sputum production that gradually can fill the lungs with fluid and prevent air delivery to the lungs. Such condition creates obstacles for proper lung ventilation and after all breathing. Acute bronchitis can be of viral etymology or as a result of external exposure (smoke, dust, vapors). People frequently suffer from acute bronchitis in cold seasons in conditions of high humidity, hypothermia, and temperature variations. Chronic bronchitis is a chronic inflammation of air tubes. It can progress consequently after multiple acute bronchitis cases or exposure to external irritants. This disease can be identified in an active smoker.

Clinic manifestations are similar for acute and chronic bronchitis. Bronchitis is characterized by cough (productive or non-productive), fatigue, discomfort in the chest, and low-grade fever. We can notice difficulty in sputum discharge in the first 2-3 days of the illness. Sputum can be white, clear, yellowing-grey, and even with blood streaks. A patient is tortured by persistent cough and short of breath. Gradually, cough attacks become lesser. “The cough begins within two days of infection in 85 percent of patients.”. Recovery can come shortly. Chesnutt in the work “Current medical diagnosis & treatment” remarks, “26 percent are still coughing after two weeks and a few cough for six to eight weeks.”. Others identify additional sighs of bronchitis as “dyspnea, wheezing, chest pain, fever, hoarseness, malaise, rhonchi, and rales.”.

Bronchitis treatment can be managed at home. Sometimes, medical treatment is not required if patient’s immune system is strong enough to suppress the illness with its own resources. As it is aforementioned, bronchitis is nearly always provoked by a virus. It means that there is no requirement for taking antibiotic medication. It will make more harm than good. A doctor prescribes antiviral medication in case of viral bronchitis. If, in a doctor’s opinion, bronchitis is provoked by bacteria, only then we are forced to take antibiotics. “Common antibiotics used in these cases are: Erythromycin, ampicillin/clavulanic acid (Augmentin), azithromycin or clarithromycin.”. During the treatment, a patient should cure his/her cough without its restrain. One should take antitussive medication. Viral or antibiotic therapy is practiced for a patient’s recovery and preventing pneumonia or any other complications.

In case of getting bronchitis, one should not overwork. On the contrary, one should have plenty of rest and avoid any congestion. It is a well-known fact that during respiratory diseases, one has to take a lot of fluid for preventing dehydration. Bronchitis case is not an exception. Liquid drinking can assist in thinning mucus inside the lungs. Balanced or even excessive fluid drinking will make coughing out easier. It is useful to drink fluids enriched with vitamins and useful microelements. In case of temperature rise, pain, and ache factors, one should take the relevant febrifuge. Certain physical exercises also can be of a big help in treating bronchitis. It encourages sputum release from the bronchial tubes.

Definition, Kinds, Clinical Manifestations and Treatment of Pneumonia

Pneumonia belongs to the group of serious respiratory infection-natured diseases that cause inflammation of the lungs. Pneumonia can be an independent disease as well as a consequent complication of other medical conditions or a result of operations and traumas.

Even today, this disease demonstrates a high rate of mortality. Annually, approximately 60,000 Americans die as a result of severe complications of this sickness. In its turn, World Health Organization states that pneumonia kills an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five years every year – more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Every human being can easily become a victim of pneumonia. Nevertheless, there are certain categories of people who are more susceptive to this particular disease. Therefore, it is better to prevent pneumonia than to treat it. Thus, the task of this essay is to arm a reader with the knowledge about pneumonia for distinguishing the condition at an early stage and further right treatment.

As mentioned before, pneumonia affects a normal functioning of a single or both lungs. Pneumonia-provoking infections can be of different etymology. Here, we mean various items like virus, fungi, bacteria, and the other parasites. From the pathophysiological point of view, pneumonia results from a reproduction of infectious agents inside the body, and it is a normal immune system’s response.

Pneumonia can be caused by various contaminants. Depending on what factor causes the illness, we primarily differ a viral (or nonbacterial) or bacterial pneumonias. Though, if to take the lung tissue of the patients who died because of pneumonia, it is possible to identify about 100 different microorganisms. However, pneumonia is provoked only by some of them.

Inflammation inside the respiratory sections of the lungs can be caused by inefficiency of the immune system as well as a massive dose of microorganisms and their high-level virulence.

There are lots of disease-producing factors such asHaemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, and Chlamydophila psittaci, but the most frequent infectious agent of pneumonia isStreptococcus pneumoniae.

As a rule, the disease-causing microorganisms exist in the air we breathe. When a person inhales the air contaminated with such organisms, the infection penetrates into the human body. It flows in the blood vessels inside the lungs. The leakage of protein rich fluid that seeps into alveoli reflects contaminant invasion. Such condition decreases the area for a normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Formation of mucus makes oxygen circulation difficult. Thus, it is hard to deliver oxygen to the blood stream. As the person is devoid of oxygen, he/she starts breathing faster so as to refund the lack of oxygen and release more carbon dioxide.

Clinical manifestations of pneumonia are quite distinctive. It depends on pneumonia type one has got. The most general symptoms of this medical condition are fever, wheezing, sputum production, chills, and cough. Cough itself can be also of different nature: either dry or non-productive, or, on the contrary, productive, sometimes with sputum production, or with mucus and pus. Sometimes, when coughing, there is noticeable a brown sputum.

Chest pain is a definite feature for pneumonia that manifests in painful feeling during deep breathing. Deep air inhale develops further cough attacks. Usually, chest pain concentrates in the center of inflammation. Such pain is characteristic for a pleural pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on a patient’s status – either it is a child or an infant, an old person or a chronic. As the example, we cite a few lines from the work “Nonbacterial Pneumonia” byKenneth M. Boyer where he indicates, “accurate nonbacterial pneumonia occurs after 1 or 2 days of coryza, decreased appetite, increasing fretfulness, respiratory congestions, vomiting, cough and fever”. (Feigen,“Textbook of pediatric infectious diseases”). Pneumonia is identified also due to the presence of such symptoms as long-lasting fevers, visible traits of intoxication shown in facial paleness, grey color of skin, loss of sleep and appetite.

Pneumonia can be accompanied by the similar general signs as any other acute respiratory viral infectious illness. Here we mean headache, myalgia, sore throat, and fatigue. However, if some kinds of pneumonia proceed openly, there are others that can remain latent and unrecognized at the beginning. Nowadays, everybody is aware of atypical pneumonia that progresses without revealing its signs and consequently can cause life-threatening complications. In this case, delayed treatment does not give an expected recovery.

Treatment of bacterial pneumonia is connected with the usage of antibiotic therapy. If the medical condition is caused by a virus, then one should take antiviral medication at the early stage for diminishing the severity of certain viral infections. For prevention and treatment of pneumonia, we use the pluripotential antibiotics such as gentamycin, tobramycin, amoxicillin, erythromycin, penicillin, and tetracycline. The doctor should check up a patient for allergies before administering the first portion of antibiotics. A physician should check the effectiveness of a chosen medication. Usually, recovery after most types of pneumonia can come in 1 or 2 weeks, but complicated cases take more time to be cured. Hospitalization is obligatory for the people who are in a risk group with severe pneumonia. It is necessary to follow prescribed medication completely, because stopping it, one may cause return of the disease or even formation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Pneumonia treatment has to be complex and should be provided under medical supervision. If one has pneumonia, it is necessary to have a lot of rest and lots of fluids. Drinking fluids prevents dehydration of the organism. It is important to encourage a patient to cough effectively as far as cough helps the body to get rid of mucus. It provides adequate drainage and ventilation of the lungs. Cough syndrome also should be treated, but it should not be suppressed. Antitussive medication is carried out on a doctor’s prescription. Health care provider should ventilate the premises where the patient is, humidify air using a high-humidity mask, and make wet cleaning. Care giver may try appropriate oxygen therapy. Care giver is to provide a patient with healthy high-calorie nutrition rich of vitamins and required microelements.

Differences Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia

Having overviewed each medical condition, we can make the following conclusions on the above. Bronchitis as well as pneumonia belongs to a category of respiratory diseases that develop in the lower respiratory tracks. Bronchitis relates to inflammation of the bronchial tubes, and pneumonia reflects inflammation of a single or both lungs. The provoking factors for bronchitis are cold, weather change or hyperemia. If the first symptoms are neglected or badly-cured, bronchitis can transform into pneumonia. Bronchitis can be medically managed at home avoiding hospitalization. In some cases, this sickness can be even cured without medication if it is timely noticed and nursed. Comparatively to bronchitis, pneumonia is more serious and dangerous. In case of inappropriate treatment and nursing, the end can be fatal. There is no compromise if hospitalization is required.

Bronchitis as well as pneumonia can have viral or bacterial origin. We should emphasize that bronchitis cases that are caused by virus dominate. Regarding pneumonia, medical practice shows that it is frequently provoked by bacteria of different etymology. Symptoms of pneumonia and bronchitis almost coincide; that is why it is hard to detect the exact medical condition. Both are accompanied with fever, cough, and chest pain, shortness of breath, chills, fatigue, and perspiration. One has to study each symptom carefully and its severity for more accurate diagnostic of the disease. For instance, cough, in case of bronchitis, is the most commonly observed sign, and pneumonia is distinct for the chest pain.

Bronchitis does not show any alterations inside the lungs. Pneumonia, as a rule, reflects minor physiological changes during the chest X-rays.     

The main contaminants of pneumonia are bacteria, virus, parasite, and fungi. Treatment depends on the contaminant. Antibiotic therapy is reasonable for pneumonia. Antiviral medication is mainly prescribed for bronchitis. Though, there are cases when the combination of antibiotic and antiviral medication is necessary for recovery. Generous fluid drinking, enough rest, right treatment approach, and high-calorie nutrition are the favorable factors to facilitation recovery for bronchitis as well as pneumonia. Though, both medical conditions have a lot in common, and it is quite a thin line that distinguishes them; pneumonia is considered as more critical and severe disease. It can jeopardize the life of any human being.

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