Difference Between Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis (With Table)

These days we are seeing quite a few lung chronic and acute diseases because of air pollution, smoking, and hereditary problems, etc. Similarly, bronchitis and bronchiectasis are lung diseases and both cause inflammation in the affected area, affecting different areas of the lungs. One is a permanent type of condition while another one is temporary. One affects the wall while the other one affects the bronchi.

Bronchitis vs Bronchiectasis 

The difference between Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis is that in bronchitis there is inflammation of the respiratory tract which comes through the airways whereas in bronchiectasis, the wall is defaced and lungs become broadened and expended. Bronchiectasis is a permanent type of condition. In Bronchitis, there is a two type of disorder – acute and chronic. 

Bronchitis is a type of disorder in which the lungs are affected. There are two types of disorders. One is acute while the other one is chronic. They affect bronchi and the bronchiole which are the larger and smaller airways of the lungs. In this disorder, the bronchi become swollen and breathing is difficult.

Bronchiectasis is a permanent type of disorder in which the wall of the airways has defected. Due to this, lungs become broadened and expanded. This disorder can be due to many causes like cystic fibrosis, HIV, airways blockage, connective tissues disorders, various lungs infections like tuberculosis, pneumonia, whooping cough, or fungal infection.  

Comparison Table Between Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis 

Parameters of ComparisonBronchitisBronchiectasis
DefinitionBronchitis is a type of disorder in which bronchi and bronchiole both are affected. Bronchiectasis is a permanent type of disorder in which the wall of the airways has defected.
SymptomsIts symptoms include cough and difficulty in breathing.Its symptoms include cough and pus-like cough, which are considered its main symptoms. Apart from this, patients also have difficulty in breathing, and fever also keeps coming. 
DiagnosisThis required X-Ray of the chest.This one diagnoses by the CT-Scan of the chest.
CauseCigarette, coal and cadmium dust, smoke, grain and clay dust, silica dust, and things like isocyanates.Allergies in bronchopulmonary aspergillosis cause this problem.
Risk FactorsSmoking, flu, various viruses, cystic fibrosis.Cystic fibrosis, HIV, or allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a type of disorder that affects the lungs. In this, both bronchi and bronchiole are affected. There are two types- chronic and acute disorder. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema both are called COPD. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It varies from person to person.

Chronic bronchitis is caused by harmful substances such as cigarette smoke, which makes breathing difficult for humans and proves fatal for them. It mainly damages the airways and lungs. In the United States, cigarette smoke is considered the main cause and is disproportionately affecting more than half of Americans. 

Not only cigarettes, but other substances cause chronic bronchitis, such as coal and cadmium dust, smoke, grain and clay dust, silica dust, and things like isocyanates that are very harmful to our lungs. This happens only if you are constantly smoking cigarettes or living in a polluted place.

Acute bronchitis is mainly caused by an infection in which the airways become disturbed, exposed to things like smoking, air pollution, etc. The cells of the bronchi become inflamed, which lasts up to 10 days. It mainly causes cough and difficulty in breathing, but it does not last long, it is short-lived and does not cause any permanent discomfort.

What is Bronchiectasis?

In Bronchiectasis, the large bronchial tubes in the lungs become dilated and defaced. Bronchiectasis is a permanent type of disorder in which the wall of the airways has defected. Due to this, lungs become broadened and expanded. This disorder can be due to many causes like cystic fibrosis, HIV, airways blockage, connective tissues disorders, various lungs infections like tuberculosis, pneumonia, whooping cough, or fungal infection.  

Its symptoms include cough and pus-like cough, which are considered its main symptoms. Apart from this, patients also have difficulty in breathing, and fever also keeps coming. 

To diagnose this problem, doctors recommend getting a CT scan which is a physical examination, which helps a lot to the patients. CT scan, which is done in high resolution, is considered important for detecting this condition. In this problem, a part or whole of the lung can be affected. This problem can also be caused by allergies, including bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, cystic fibrosis, and other problems with the cilia. Pneumonia is known to cause focal bronchiectasis in some cases.

Factors like cystic fibrosis, HIV infection also cause this problem which cannot be ignored. Allergies in bronchopulmonary aspergillosis cause this problem, which is a risk factor. Doctors sometimes recommend taking antibiotics, which help clear the airways. Untreated bronchiectasis sometimes leads to death and occurs in places where there is a limited amount of health care.

Main Differences Between Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis

We often get confused between Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis because of their similar names and disease also related to the same body part, respiratory system, but both are quite different. The distinguishing factor between Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis relations can be summed up on the following grounds:

  1. Bronchitis is a type of disorder in which bronchi and bronchiole both are affected whereas Bronchiectasis is a type of disorder in which the wall of the airways has defected.
  2. Bronchitis is a temporary type of disorder while bronchiectasis is a permanent type of disorder.
  3. Bronchitis is diagnosed by the X-Ray of the chest whereas Bronchiectasis is diagnosed by the high-resolution CT-Scan of the chest. 
  4. Bronchitis symptoms include cough and difficulty in breathing whereas Bronchiectasis symptoms include cough and pus-like cough, difficulty in breathing, and fever also keeps coming. 
  5. Bronchitis is caused by things like cigarettes, coal, and cadmium dust, smoke, grain and clay dust, silica dust, and isocyanates whereas in bronchiectasis, allergy in bronchopulmonary aspergillosis causes this problem. 

Conclusion

As we can see both Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis are bronchial disorders, with similar symptoms and almost similar names, they are very different conditions. Bronchitis is inflammation of both large and small airways of the lungs whereas Bronchiectasis is permanent widening and damaging the walls of the airways, often happens due to the repeated severe infections. Chronic Bronchitis happens because of smoking or exposure to environmental substances whereas Bronchiectasis is because of allergy in bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. If you have breathing or respiratory problems, it’s advisable to seek medical assistance to diagnose the disease, so treatment can be customized to individual needs. Like bronchial disorders, there are more such diseases, which try to stop and obstruct the respiratory tract, so one should be regularly aware of one’s health and consult doctors.

References

  1. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/57/8/667.short
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012369216525914
  3. https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1164/arrd.1966.93.3P1.372
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