Difference Between Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema

There are different lung diseases and conditions where lungs get affected. Lungs are used for breathing but if they get affected by any sort of disease they cause problems in breathing.


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Today, we are going to two diseases that affect the lungs namely Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. These two diseases directly affect the lungs.

Chronic Bronchitis vs Emphysema

The difference between Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema is that Chronic Bronchitis affects the air sacs and alveoli. On the other side, Emphysema destroys tiny hairs, called cilia, in the airways of the lungs. Although both attack the lungs, but they target different areas to affect and damage the lungs.

Chronic Bronchitis vs Emphysema

In Chronic Bronchitis, when the wall of your bronchial tubes (the passages that transport oxygen to and from your lungs) becomes swollen or irritating, this is known as bronchitis.

This causes a persistent “wet” coughing that lasts at least three months. You may cough up vicious, dark mucus and feel exhausted and breathless as a result.

Emphysema occurs whenever the airways in your lungs (alveoli) are inflamed. The walls of the air sacs can grow fragile and perhaps rupture as a result of this.

This allows more oxygen to pass your lungs. While this may appear to be a positive thing, it means your lungs have less room to take in oxygen.

Comparison Table

  Parameters of ComparisonChronic Bronchitis  Emphysema
Affecting body partLungsLungs
SymptomsTiredness, Wheezing, Chest DiscomfortShortness of Breath, Tightness in Chest
Type of DiseaseCOPDCOPD
Test to DiagnoseATT, Pulmonary FunctionPulmonary Function, Arterial blood gas test
Targets Inflames the bronchiDestroys Alveoli

What is Chronic Bronchitis?

It is a respiratory disorder, we tend (once we split this word we get bronchi that means bronchioles) and it is that means infection or inflammation, and respiratory disorder, as a whole, is inflammation of the bronchioles. bronchitis alongside respiratory disorder and respiratory disease belong to the category of COPD (chronic preventive pulmonic disease).

Bronchitis isn’t caused by any bacterium or virus, the rationale for one to contract is poor air or pollution. This inflammation ends up in the formation of secretion within the bronchioles.

This condition causes a typical cough known as smoker’s cough. It additionally causes you to cough up secretion, wheeze, and have chest discomfort.

These could go downhill over time and cause severe respiratory issues. Their area unit varied styles of respiratory disorder the foremost common being chronic and acute.

Chronic bronchitis is that the long-run inflammation of the bronchioles. the most reason for this sickness persists is because of a roll of tobacco smoking. pollution additionally plays its role alright.

This secretion formation makes it tough for one to breathe, resulting in less chemical element intake and fewer exhalation of greenhouse emissions.

Coming to the symptoms of bronchitis. For frequent coughing or cough that produces a respiratory disorder Shortness of respiratory whereas doing physical activity, Wheezing.

Other symptoms of bronchitis will include: Fatigue, fever, frequent and severe, unhealthy and crackle sounds once respiratory, blue fingernails, lips, and skin because of low chemical element levels swelling within the legs and ankles (peripheral edema).

As of now, there’s no cure for this. However, some lifestyles changes could facilitate one to forestall such diseases.

Additionally, one could use bronchodilators which, will open airways, steroids to scale back inflammation, chemical element medical aid, and pulmonic rehabilitation.

What is Emphysema?

Emphysema may be a respiratory organ condition that causes shortness of breath. It causes inflammation of air sacs. Additionally, it is referred to as alveoli.

Alongside, respiratory disorder and bronchitis belong to the category of COPD (chronic preventive pulmonic disease).

Respiratory disease is principally caused by a protracted smoking amount. Alveoli area unit little, thin-walled, terribly fragile air sacs at the tip of bronchioles.

Their area unit concerns three hundred million alveoli during a traditional human respiratory organ. Once a person develops the respiratory disease, the problems of the alveoli area unit are destroyed.

The tubes collapse associated cause an “obstruction” (a blockage), that traps look the looks} of a lot of air cornered within the lungs will provide some patients with a barrel-chested appearance.

Symptoms of emphysema are no different from that bronchitis. This disease is mainly found in people who smoke regularly but passive smokers are also prone to this.

Other causes of emphysema are exposure to poisonous chemical smokes/gases or extremely polluted air. Also, one may acquire it genetically but, it can be cured at an embryonic stage.

It is mainly caused due to deficiency of alpha-1. Also, there’s no treatment for a respiratory disease as of currently. However, some lifestyles changes will facilitate one-stop it.

Main Differences Between Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema 

  1. Chronic Bronchitis affects the lungs associated with Bronchitis while, Emphysema also affects the lungs affecting another part of the lungs. 
  2. Chronic Bronchitis damage the lungs severely while Emphysema damages the lungs partially step by step. 
  3. The symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis are tiredness, chest discomfort, wheezing while, symptoms of Emphysema are tightness in the chest, shortness of breath. 
  4. Tests used to diagnose Chronic Bronchitis are ATT, Pulmonary Function while, tests used to diagnose are Pulmonary Function, Arterial blood gas tests.
  5. Chronic Bronchitis targets inflaming the bronchi while Emphysema destroys Alveoli. 
Difference Between Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema


  1. https://medlineplus.gov/chronicbronchitis.html
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314803#takeaway
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