What other health problems can develop from having chronic bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis can cause permanent damage to the lungs. This can lead to other serious breathing conditions, such as Emphysema. Doctors call these diseases chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). If you are diagnosed with COPD, you may have chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or a combination of the two. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

A single bout of bronchitis is not usually serious. However, it can lead to pneumonia in some people such as the elderly, the very young, or people who smoke. People with chronic bronchitis are even more at risk for developing pneumonia.

To learn more:

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
(National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
A brief and simple explanation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
(Hands on Health – SC)
Our section on Emphysema can answer your questions about emphysema.
The Mayo Clinic describes COPD and emphysema. This site provides a good overview of the disease and its treatment.
Pneumonia Fact Sheet
(American Lung Association)
This Web site offers lots of facts and statistics about pneumonia as well as information about the causes of pneumonia, its treatment, and prevention.

next » How do I find out if I have chronic bronchitis?

Written by: Lillian Trettin, Ph.D.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey G. Schultze, M.D.
Last Modified: Thursday October 31, 2019 10:14 AM