Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 10, 2022


Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia

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An aberrant condition that affects a living thing is referred to as a disease. In general, medical disorders that involve a pathogenic process and a particular set of symptoms are regarded to be diseases. Diseases can be localised to a region of the body, diffused to other areas of the body, or systemic, affecting the entire body. Each disease process has an underlying cause, or aetiology, yet some diseases may exhibit a variety of contradictory symptoms, making it challenging to identify or diagnose them. Some disorders that disrupt the chemical balances of the neural system may show in physical symptoms. Physical signs of sickness may coexist with emotional symptoms.

Each disease process has an underlying cause, or aetiology, yet some diseases may exhibit a variety of contradictory symptoms, making it challenging to identify or diagnose them. Some disorders that disrupt the chemical balances of the neural system may show in physical symptoms. Physical signs of sickness may coexist with emotional symptoms. Autoimmune, bacterial, blood, cancer, digestive, heart, nerve (or neurodegenerative), sexually transmitted, or thyroid illnesses are some examples of disease categories. Both communicable and noncommunicable diseases exist. Acquired viruses or bacteria are examples of external causes of disease, whereas autoimmune or genetic dysfunction are examples of internal causes of disease. Some illnesses are chronic, which means they are perpetually present and may manifest symptomatically over an extended period of time. An organism maintains its normal state, which is a delicate physiological balance, or homeostasis, by a number of as-yet-unknown mechanisms in terms of chemical, physical, and functional processes. As a result, the fundamental cause of disease is the breakdown of homeostasis-maintaining processes. In certain cases, it is clear which processes are affected, but more frequently than not, a complex of systems is perturbed, either suddenly or gradually, making it challenging to determine the precise aetiology of the ensuing sickness. In humans and other mammals, heart or lung failure is a common cause of mortality. However, the chain of events leading up to this can be exceedingly complex, involving the disruption of multiple organ systems in addition to other factors.

Humans frequently associate disease with anguish, unhappiness, or interpersonal problems. Diseases, wounds, infections, aberrant behaviours, abnormal structural and functional changes, and syndromes may all be signs of a disease or be mistaken for actual disease processes. Disease can be prevented or eliminated through a variety of strategies, including proper cleanliness, a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and vaccination. There are several ways to treat diseases, including using medication, tools, surgery, and self-care. While some illnesses can be managed with only time, others require a mix of medicines to permanently halt the disease's progression or its underlying cause. Palliative care or pain management therapy may be used to treat the symptoms of some diseases if they are incurable.

Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia

Lung inflammation underlies both bronchitis and pneumonia, but bronchitis is more usually brought on by viruses than pneumonia is by bacteria. The majority of bronchitis instances appear after middle age, and those at risk cannot actually avoid it. On the other hand, pneumonia can be prevented by taking the appropriate safety measures. In this comparison, acute bronchitis—from which a patient can recover in about two weeks—is examined; chronic bronchitis is covered elsewhere.

Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia in Tabular Form

Table: Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia
Parameters of Comparison
An inflammation of the bronchial mucous membranes is known as bronchitis. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic.
A lung inflammation known as pneumonia primarily affects the tiny air sacs known as alveoli.
Inflamed mucus membranes in bronchial airways from infection, which is typically viral but can occasionally be bacterial.
Because irritated membranes enlarge, coughing results.
Risk Factors
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, smoking, age, and previous upper respiratory illness (GERD).
Age, diabetes, and cardiac conditions.
Dry cough develops into "mucopurulent sputum," or lung mucus.
A little temperature, and a burning sensation in the chest.
Only the elderly, young children, and those with weakened immune systems should see a doctor.
The elderly, those with risk factors, and those with weakened immune systems must be hospitalised.

What is Bronchitis?

The bronchial tree, which is a network of tubes that resembles a tree and transports air to your lungs, becomes inflamed when you have bronchitis. It is challenging to breathe because these tubes enlarge and accumulate mucus when they become infected. Although bacteria can potentially cause bronchitis, viruses typically cause this condition. A cough that produces mucus, wheezing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and a mild fever are all signs of bronchitis.

A mildly common disease, acute bronchitis is frequently brought on by a cold or similar respiratory illness. Smoking frequently contributes to the more severe condition known as chronic bronchitis, which is characterised by recurrent irritation or inflammation of the bronchial tube lining. The bronchial tubes that carry air to and from your lungs itch when you have bronchitis. Bronchitis patients commonly cough up thicker, sometimes coloured mucus. Both acute and chronic bronchitis are possible. When the bronchioles—the air-carrying tubes in the lungs—are inflamed and produce an excessive amount of mucus, bronchitis develops. Basic bronchitis comes in two different forms:

Chronic Bronchitis

Sputum-producing cough that lasts for three months out of the year for at least two years straight is considered to be chronic bronchitis. An early respiratory infection or disease, exposure to tobacco smoke, or other irritants in the air can all contribute to the cough and inflammation. When persistent bronchitis obstructs airflow, it is classified as having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Acute Bronchitis

More frequently seen is acute or short-term bronchitis, which is typically brought on by a viral infection. Smoking has been linked to and has been shown to exacerbate episodes of acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis may last for 10 to 14 days and may result in symptoms that last up to three weeks.

Bronchitis Signs and Symptoms include:

  • A persistent cough that discharges mucus.
  • A lack of drive.
  • Breathing with a wheezing sound (may or may not be present).
  • The flu (may or may not be present).
  • Respiration difficulty.

Prevention of Bronchitis

Follow this advice to lower your risk of getting bronchitis:

  • Steer clear of smoking. Smoking cigarettes raises your risk of developing chronic bronchitis.
  • Obtain a vaccine. Flu, a virus, is the cause of many occurrences of acute bronchitis. A yearly flu shot can help prevent you from contracting the illness. Consider getting vaccinated against certain types of pneumonia as well.
  • Sanitise your hands. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers often and wash your hands often to lower your risk of contracting a viral infection.
  • Putting on a surgical mask If you have COPD, you might want to think about using a face mask at work if you are exposed to dust or fumes, as well as when you will be around a lot of people, as when you are travelling.

Risk Components

Your risk of getting bronchitis is increased by the following things:

One Cigarette Smoke

People who smoke or who live with smokers are more likely to develop both acute and chronic bronchitis.

Low Resistance

This could be from a short-term illness like a cold or a long-term condition like a chronic illness that compromises your immune system. Older people, infants, and small children are more prone to disease.

Dealing with Irritants at Work

Your risk of developing bronchitis is increased if you work with certain lung irritants, such as grains or textiles, or if you are exposed to chemical fumes.

Gastric Reflux Excruciating

heartburn attacks on a regular basis can irritate your throat and raise your bronchitis risk.

Treatment of Bronchitis

Be prepared for your doctor to merely advise rest and plenty of fluids. A severe case of acute bronchitis frequently goes away on its own. Allowing your body to relax and consuming enough of fluids may hasten its disappearance. Antibiotics won't help because acute bronchitis is typically caused by a virus. Since acute bronchitis will probably get better on its own, therapy usually focuses on symptom relief.

What is Pneumonia?

It's possible for pneumonia to infect one or both lungs. It causes the air sacs, or alveoli, in the lungs to fill with fluid or pus. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi are all potential causes of pneumonia. Mild to severe symptoms could include anything from a cough that generates sticky mucus to a fever, chills, and trouble breathing. The severity of your case of pneumonia is influenced by your age, general health, and underlying illness.

There are many ways that pneumonia can spread. When inhaled, the viruses and bacteria that are frequently found in a child's nose or throat can infect the lungs. Additionally, airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze might transmit them. Additionally, particularly during and right after childbirth, pneumonia can spread through blood. The various pneumonia-causing bacteria and the modes of transmission require more study since they are crucial for both therapy and prevention. Both bacterial and viral pneumonia manifest with similar symptoms. The signs of viral pneumonia, however, might be more prevalent than the signs of bacterial pneumonia. Pneumonia is diagnosed in children under the age of five who have a cough and/or difficulty breathing, with or without a fever, and either quick breathing or lower chest wall indrawing, which is when the chest moves in or out during inhalation (in a healthy person, the chest expands during inhalation). Viral infections are more likely to cause wheezing. Infants that are really seriously unwell may not be able to eat or drink, and they may also become unconscious, develop hypothermia, and go into convulsions.

Pneumonia has more than 30 different causes, which are categorised by the cause. The most common kinds of pneumonia include:

Pneumonia caused by bacteria

Numerous bacteria cause this kind. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most prevalent. It typically happens when the body is compromised in some way, such as through disease, inadequate nutrition, ageing, or decreased immunity, and the germs are able to enter the lungs. All ages can be affected by bacterial pneumonia, but if you misuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes, are physically weak, have just had surgery, had a respiratory condition or viral infection, or had a compromised immune system, your risk increases.

Viral Pneumonia

About one-third of all pneumonia cases are caused by viral pneumonia, which can be brought on by a number of viruses, including the influenza virus. If you have viral pneumonia, you can be more susceptible to developing bacterial pneumonia.

Mycoplasma Pneumonia

atypical pneumonia is the name given to the form of mycoplasma pneumonia, which has slightly unusual symptoms and physical indicators. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the bacterium that causes it. It typically results in a broad, moderate pneumonia that affects people of all ages.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can be moderate to severe depending on the type of germ that caused the sickness, your age, and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms can occasionally resemble those of the flu or a normal cold, but they last longer. Some indications and symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Changes in consciousness or confusion are brought on by coughing or inhaling (in adults age 65 and older)
  • Coughing that might produce phlegm
  • Having low body temperature, perspiration, a high body temperature, and weariness (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
  • Respiratory issues, nausea, or vomiting

Prevention for Pneumonia

  • Every plan to lower infant mortality must include measures to prevent childhood pneumonia. The best defence against pneumonia is immunisation against Hib, pneumococcus, measles, and whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Strengthening a child's natural defences requires adequate nourishment, commencing with exclusive nursing for the first six months of life. In addition to being successful in preventing pneumonia, it also aids in shortening a child's illness if it does occur.
  • By encouraging excellent hygiene in crowded homes and taking action against environmental issues such indoor air pollution, the prevalence of paediatric pneumonia can be reduced.
  • Cotrimoxazole, an antibiotic, is used daily by children with HIV to lower their risk of developing pneumonia.

Risk Components

Pneumonia can affect anyone. The two age groups most at danger, however, are:

  • Children younger than two years old
  • Those who are at least 65

Other warning indications include

  • Being hospitalised You have an increased chance of getting pneumonia in a hospital intensive care unit, especially if you use a breathing machine (a ventilator).
  • Chronic disease You are more likely to develop pneumonia if you have asthma, a heart condition, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Smoking. Smoking impairs your body's natural defences against the viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia.
  • An underdeveloped or suppressed immune system. People with HIV/AIDS, organ transplant recipients, those who use long-term steroid use, and those who have had chemotherapy.

Treatment of Pneumonia

Antibiotics should be used to treat pneumonia. Amoxicillin dispersible pills are the recommended antibiotic for first-line therapy. Most pneumonia infections call for oral antibiotics, which are frequently provided at a clinic. At the local level, these instances can also be identified and treated with affordable oral antibiotics by community health professionals. Only in the most severe pneumonia instances is hospitalisation advised.

Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia In Points

  • The main distinction between the two is that whereas pneumonia is often caused by bacteria, bronchitis is frequently caused by viruses.
  • Unlike pneumonia, which starts and spreads deeper in your lung tissues, bronchitis only affects the airways in your lungs.
  • The signs and symptoms of pneumonia are often more severe than those of bronchitis and frequently resemble those of a systemic illness with a fever or chills.
  • Most cases of bronchitis develop after middle age, and individuals at risk cannot really prevent it. On the other side, pneumonia can be avoided by adopting the right precautions.
  • Acute bronchitis and pneumonia may share many symptoms, but acute bronchitis is much less deadly.


CRDs have an impact on the lungs' airways and other pulmonary structures. The most prevalent ones include asthma, pulmonary hypertension, occupational lung disorders, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Air pollution, occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts, and recurrent lower respiratory infections in children are additional risk factors in addition to cigarette use. Although CRDs cannot be cured, there are a number of treatments that can assist open the airways and reduce shortness of breath, helping to control symptoms and enhance everyday life for persons who have these disorders. "A world where everyone may breathe freely" is the mission statement of the Global Alliance against CRDs (GARD) of the WHO. GARD concentrates on the requirements of individuals with CRDs in low- and middle-income nations.

The WHO Chronic Respiratory Diseases Programme's mission is to assist Member States in their efforts to lower the burden of illness, disability, and early mortality caused by chronic respiratory diseases, in particular asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).



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"Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-bronchitis-and-pneumonia-798>.

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