Bronchitis occurs when the air passages in your lungs become inflamed. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually due to a viral infection, such as a cold, that starts in your nose or sinuses and spreads to the airways. Acute bronchitis usually lasts a few days, but you may have a cough for weeks afterward.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, occurs most often in people who smoke and, together with emphysema, is known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic bronchitis is characterized by a productive (wet) cough that is persistent. The mucus that is produced by the inflamed airways eventually causes scar tissue to form in the lungs, making breathing difficult.

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Review Date: 12/19/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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