What are the similarities and differences between emphysema and chronic bronchitis?
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis refer to chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases characterized by airflow-limited states. Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that affects the air sacs in an individual lung, thus impairing the ability to breathe effectively. The elastic air sac becomes rigid and floppy, impairing the normal exhalation-inhalation process. Chronic bronchitis refers to long-term inflammation of the airways. It is commonly seen in smokers (Lu et al., 2019).
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis do share various similarities. Both conditions target lung impairment, thus termed chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. The conditions often occur at the same time, making p to COPD. Smoking is the main associated risk factor for emphysema and chronic bronchitis (Doney et al., 2022). Exposure to toxic fumes or smoke contributes to the development of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Both conditions cause difficulty in breathing, leading to shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
Additionally, prolonged coughing and shortness of breath lead to heart issues. Neither emphysema nor chronic bronchitis is curable. Supportive management is essential for the treatment of both conditions. Using bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, steroids, and medications to open the airway and relieve coughing are vital in managing both conditions. Avoiding smoking is essential prevention therapy to prevent both diseases. Severe cases of the conditions may result in pulmonary rehabilitation for close monitoring.
The main defining difference between both conditions is that chronic bronchitis is characterized by frequent coughing up clear white mucus, unlike emphysema, characterized by a persistent cough and long-term mucus production. A person affected with chronic bronchitis cough everyday moment for a long-term time, unlike emphysema. Genetic factors such as alpha one antitrypsin deficiency can lead to emphysema, typically caused by cigarette smoking, unlike chronic bronchitis. Finally, chronic bronchitis is associated with inflammation of the airways, such as the bronchioles, unlike emphysema, characterized by damage to the alveoli walls.
Doney, B., Kurth, L., & Syamlal, G. (2022). Chronic bronchitis and emphysema among workers exposed to dust, vapours, or fumes by industry and occupation. Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, 77(7), 525-529.
Lu, X., Gong, J., Dennery, P. A., & Yao, H. (2019). Endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition: Pathogenesis and therapeutic targets for chronic pulmonary and vascular diseases. Biochemical pharmacology, pp. 168, 100–107.
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