August 9, 2019

Understanding Asthma, Bronchitis, and How They’re Linked

Have you ever heard about asthmatic bronchitis? How are asthma and bronchitis linked to each other?

Asthmatic bronchitis is one of those terms commonly used by doctors to describe a set of symptoms that occur in both asthma and bronchitis.

To understand how asthma and bronchitis are linked, it’s important to understand both conditions separately. Although they are two different illnesses with different causes, they do have an overlap. The common denominator between the two conditions is airway inflammation and swelling, specifically in the bronchial tubes, which bring air into and out of the lungs.

Bronchitis: symptoms and causes

Bronchitis may be caused by an infection brought by a virus or bacteria. It may develop from the common colds and other respiratory infections. Smoking is also known to trigger bronchitis. Once it develops, patients may notice the following symptoms1: coughing up thick mucus, fatigue, shortness of breath, low-grade fever and chills, and chest discomfort.

Asthma: symptoms and causes

Asthma is a chronic disease most commonly caused by allergies and irritants that cause inflammation in the airways. Symptoms include: non-stop coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness and discomfort

Given these symptoms and causes, how are asthma and bronchitis related?

xray of lungs with bronchitis - how are asthma ang bronchitis linkedExplaining asthmatic bronchitis

While bronchitis may occur in people who do not have asthma, it certainly triggers or worsens asthma symptoms in patients who have this disease. In addition, asthma can also increase a patient’s chances of developing bronchitis, as asthma results in the narrowing of airways.

Asthma and bronchitis occurring together is thus termed asthmatic bronchitis. When this happens, symptoms may even be worse compared with those in patients without asthma.

This is because extremely constricted airways can trap bacteria and mucus in the lungs, making it difficult to cough up. If this happens for an extended period, it can result in lung damage, not to mention intense difficulties in breathing, chest pains, and fatigue. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, a life-threatening disease, is also a complication of both asthma and bronchitis.

How can you tell if you have asthmatic bronchitis?

Symptoms of bronchitis, asthma, and asthmatic bronchitis are very similar. Hence, it’s difficult to determine your condition without consulting a doctor. If you’re a known asthma patient, and you’re coughing up discolored sputum, that may be a sign of asthmatic bronchitis. However, to be sure, your doctor may conduct lung function tests and check your symptoms to identify or rule out asthmatic bronchitis2.

Treating and preventing asthmatic bronchitis

Treating asthmatic bronchitis means treating both asthma and bronchitis3. Controlling your asthma during this phase is crucial, so you can recover faster from bronchitis. It’s important to continue your asthma treatment plan and consult your doctor if you should increase your medications’ dosage.

You can also prevent asthmatic bronchitis by taking note of these tips:

1. Wear a face mask or filter to minimize exposure to allergens and irritants.
2. Use an air purifier at home.
3. Get a flu vaccine to reduce chances of developing respiratory infections.
4. Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in vitamin C.
5. Practice good hygiene to prevent infections.

While there is no single definitive treatment for asthmatic bronchitis, working closely with your doctor can help you determine the unique treatment methods and combination of medications that suit your condition. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also key in boosting your immune system, preventing infections, and promoting respiratory health.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advise, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advise of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


[1] Mayo Clinic. Bronchitis. Reference:

[2] Healthline. Asthmatic bronchitis. Reference:

[3] Health. What is asthmatic bronchitis? Reference:

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