Medical Alerts for Seniors with Chronic Bronchitis

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Chronic Bronchitis

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Chronic bronchitis is a form of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This disease causes the bronchial tubes, the airways that transfer air to the lungs, to become inflamed while producing an excess of mucus. If left untreated, the mucus build-up can lead to coughing and difficulty breathing.

The disease can also cause fever, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Inhaling cigarette smoke, dust, air pollution and fumes over long periods of time may contribute to the disease.

Chronic Bronchitis Overview

Chronic bronchitis is described as a productive cough lasting at least three months and recurring for at least two consecutive years. It is long-term condition and may never disappear completely. Chronic bronchitis is a very serious condition, since the lining of the bronchial tubes is always inflamed. Individuals suffering from this disease are likely to experience periods when their cough or other symptoms worsen. At those times, an infection may also be present in the body.

A variety of treatment options may help ease the symptoms. Treatment often includes medicines designed to help open the airways and clear the mucus. Individuals may also seek oxygen therapy to help improve their quality of life.

Chronic Bronchitis Impairment

Those with bronchitis experience a great deal of impairment throughout the life of the disease. The most common impairment is a constant cough that is accompanied by a thick, discolored mucus. Individuals may also experience chest pain, wheezing and shortness of breath.Individuals who are in the later stages of chronic bronchitis may develop bluish skin and lips due to the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. The decrease of oxygen levels in the blood may also lead to swelling in the legs and ankles.

As the disease progresses, the severity of symptoms may vary. Severe episodes may be triggered by a variety of factors including exposure to irritants, other infections that may be present in the body, respiratory tract infections and heart conditions.

People with chronic bronchitis may experience a variety of impairments, including:

  • Cough
  • Production of mucus (sputum)
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slight fever and chills
  • Chest discomfort
Medical Alert Benefits

Most patients suffering with chronic bronchitis experience shortness of breath and breathing difficulties accompanied by a persistent cough. It is advantageous to have medical alerts in the event that an emergency occurs and the individual is not able to recover safely. Emergency personnel can be alerted with the press of a button.

The symptoms of chronic bronchitis include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chills
  • Production of mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Muscle aches
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many seniors find ways to safely alleviate the symptoms associated with chronic bronchitis without the need for medical alerts. To reach their goals, they may rely on medications, specialized therapy or other coping mechanisms. However, it should be noted that the most effective means for controlling the cough associated with chronic bronchitis is the avoidance of cigarette smoke and environmental irritants.

  • Coughing: Some individuals may find over-the-counter (OTC) cough suppressants to be helpful in reducing cough symptoms. Cough suppressants can help to make the sufferer find relief by helping the mucus to become less viscous.
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath: Nearly 50 percent of smokers suffering with chronic bronchitis will notice a decrease in coughing within one month of ceasing smoking. Most patients will no longer experience coughing when smoking is ceased. If airflow was obstructed during the course of the disease, not smoking will help individuals to recover lung function.
  • Take medication as prescribed: Most seniors with chronic bronchitis are prescribed medications to help relieve regular and occasional breathing issues. The drug treatment plan is tailored specifically to fit the needs of each individual. The drug treatment plan allows doctors to monitor how well the medication is working.
Chronic Bronchitis Precautions:
  • Don’t Smoke: Smoking is the leading cause of chronic bronchitis and should be avoided. Tobacco smoke irritates the airways when inhaled. Individuals who are continuously exposed to irritants such as dust, chemical fumes and tobacco smoke may develop chronic bronchitis.
  • Avoid household triggers: Individuals should avoid household triggers that can irritate the lungs, such as aerosol products and certain cleaning supplies.
  • Wear masks: Masks should be worn to protect the lungs if you need to use cleaning supplies, or are in an environment where triggers are in the air. The mask should cover both the nose and mouth. This can help individuals to breathe more easily.
  • Exercise: Individuals with chronic bronchitis should exercise regularly. Exercising helps to strengthen the muscles needed to breathe. Exercise should be done at least three times a week. 
Chronic Bronchitis Medical Alerts Conclusion

Chronic bronchitis causes severe coughing that leads to discomfort and chest pain. If severe, the disease may restrict the proper air and blood flow through the lungs, increasing the risk of other complications and medical emergencies. Medical alerts can provide the reassurance needed that medical personnel will be alerted if an emergency arises. When severe, portable oxygen units may also be required as treatment of chronic bronchitis. In the unfortunate event of a malfunction, with the push of a button, medical personnel will be alerted.

With the possibility of many potential complications, access to help is crucial. Medical alerts can help you get quick access to much-needed treatment.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.