Chronic Bronchitis In Elderly: Causes and Prevention

According to a survey conducted by National Center for Health Statistics

  • Number of adults with diagnosed chronic bronchitis in the past year: 9.3 million
  • Percent of adults with diagnosed chronic bronchitis in the past year: 3.8%
  • Number of adults who have ever been diagnosed with emphysema: 3.5 million
  • Percent of adults who have ever been diagnosed with emphysema: 1.5%
  • Percent of residents with COPD: 10.8%

chronic bronchitis

What is bronchitis?

Inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs results in narrowing of the passage which causes cough and increased accumulation of mucus. This condition may be due to flu or common cold lasts for at least 3 months, two years in a row.

Types of bronchitis:


  1. Acute bronchitis: Lasts a few weeks and does not have any serious impact on health post recovery.
  2. Chronic bronchitis: This is a recurring condition that in future develops into COPD.


What causes chronic bronchitis in elderly?


Causal agent for chronic bronchitis in elderly can be either a virus or bacteria. Viral bronchitis occurs more often by the same viruses that are responsible for common cold or flu. In both cases, the bronchial tubes get swollen up due to the reaction of the body against the germs. This is the reason for breathlessness and cough.

What are the symptoms?



  1. Congestion in the chest
  2. Feeling full or clogged in the chest
  3. Presence of excess amount of mucus in cough
  4. Breathlessness
  5. Whistling sound or wheezing while breathing
  6. Feeling exhausted
  7. Low fever with runny nose and sore throat
  8. Body pain and sudden chills


Can chronic bronchitis in elderly be prevented?

Bronchitis is affecting the health of the elderly all over the world and its incidence is on the rise with time.

  • The elderly and their family members should be aware and make efforts to avoid smoking and passive smoking in order to prevent bronchitis. Cessation of smoking may not lead to complete recovery or prevention of bronchitis, but it highly slows down the development of the same.
  • Staying active and developing healthy habits also helps to keep the disease away. Performing light exercises and walking helps to keep oneself fit and active.
  • Healthy diet with proper nutrition quotient assists in staying healthy and fresh. It also leads to better immunity which also helps to prevent getting infected easily.
  • Prevention of cold is also beneficial in keeping away bronchitis in elderly people.


What are the complications that may arise due to bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis may cause the following complications in the elderly:


Basic requirements of elderly patients with chronic bronchitis


  • Elderly patients with bronchitis should maintain proper intake of high protein, high calorie, and high vitamin diet
  • Special attention should be paid to avoid places with harmful and irritating gas stimulation. Keeping away from dust, smoke, gas, fumes and other respiratory irritants is advisable for elderly with bronchitis.
  • Maintaining appropriate room temperature (generally 18 ~ 20 is appropriate) and humidity is also very important and should be taken care of in case of chronic bronchitis in elderly. Catching a cold or flu is dangerous for those suffering from bronchitis.


For further details, contact TriBeca Care

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