Both medical history and lifestyle can be factors in contracting bronchitis.
Chronic medical conditions affecting the respiratory system such as COPD, cystic fibrosis, allergies, or asthma can put an individual at risk for bronchitis. If bronchitis is triggered by a medical condition, acute (temporary) bronchitis may be a more serious problem and treated differently.
Some medical conditions cause immune system problems, leading to the development of bronchitis. Diabetes and HIV infections are some of the diseases known to weaken the immune system. An impaired immune system causes the body to be more susceptible to infection, such as the one causing bronchitis.
Sinusitis, the common cold, and the flu are upper-respiratory infections that can spread to the lungs. If an individual has a history of these infections, he or she may be at risk for developing bronchitis.
Smoking and exposure to poor air quality can increase an individual’s risk for developing bronchitis. Both smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke inhibits the body’s ability to remove organisms that may cause bronchitis from lower airways.
Living or working in a place with high levels of air pollution, chemicals, or dust have a similar effect on the body’s ability to maintain a healthy immune system. Quitting smoking, avoiding second hand smoke, and avoiding polluted air reduce one’s risk of developing bronchitis.
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