Chronic disease of the respiratory tract as defined by the WHO: Chronic cough producing sputum which occurs in a patient for at least 3 successive months of 2 consecutive years.
Causes / trigger:
The main cause is smoking, followed by air pollution at the workplace, frequent airway infections as well as a damp climate in autumn and winter.
Symptoms / signs / effects:
The cilia (small hairs) in the airways become paralysed and the lung produces excessive amounts of mucus. In this stage the changes are reversible. Additional symptoms:cough, sputum and breathlessness.
Listening to the lung with a stethoscope, pulmonary function analysis and measurement of the oxygen level in the blood, as well as X-rays, ECG and blood tests.
Use of drugs to dilate the bronchi and to control mucus, and where appropriate, antibiotics with bacterial infection.