Bronchitis and Sinus Infection
There is a correlation between bronchitis and sinus infection. For some people, if their
sinus infection is not treated, bronchitis may soon develop.
Bronchitis is a medical condition usually caused by viral or bacterial infection causing the
lining of the bronchial tubes to become inflamed. Sometimes bronchitis can also be caused by irritation from
prolonged exposure to airborne irritants including cigarette smoke.
What Is Chronic Bronchitis?
Chronic bronchitis is a serious lung disease that, over time, makes it hard to breathe. It comes
under an umbrella name, COPD, which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease together with emphysema.
COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States causing serious and long-term
More than 12 million people are currently diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million
likely have the disease and don't even know it. People with chronic bronchitis often have their airways or
bronchial tubes blocked. This affects and interferes with getting air in and out of the lungs.
When a person has chronic bronchitis, the airways or bronchial tubes are constantly inflamed,
leaving them permanently swollen. This inflammation constricts the air passages. The bronchial tubes are made up of
mucous membranes just like the sinuses. When inflammation of mucous membranes takes place, they tend to produce
greater than normal amounts of mucus.
This action further constricts the airways. Greater breathing effort is needed to inhale and
exhale air caused by the constriction. Eventually, the ability of the lungs to transfer oxygen into the blood and
remove carbon dioxide from the blood is compromised. This translates into shortness of breath and the person will
be drained of energy very quickly and normal daily activities cannot be carried out easily.
If this condition is not treated, more and more obstructions in the small airways result. Some
will eventually remain fully blocked and the air sacs in the lungs disappear as their membranous walls die. This
damage to the air sacs is irreversible.
Bronchitis and sinus infection relationship
Epithelium is a membranous connective tissue composed of layers of cells that line the cavities
and surfaces of structures throughout our body.The function of these mucous membranes is to produce mucus so that
foreign particles, pathogens and other irritants are trapped and subsequently removed from the body before they can
do any damage. In the case of sinus infection, the inflammation of the epithelium or mucous membranes cause more
mucus to be produced than normal.
Their action together cause the ostia, which are the openings where mucus produced in the
paranasal sinuses can be drained, become obstructed.
The obstruction provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and viruses collected in the
paranasal sinuses to proliferate. Inflammation of the mucous membranes also cause blockage of the nasal passages
leading to poor ventilation.
Sinus infection symptoms such as frontal headaches, pain and discomfort in the facial areas and
a variety of sinus infection mucus will present themselves very quickly. Similarly for bronchitis, the main culprit
is also the abnormal production of mucus by the mucous glands and membranes of the bronchial tubes.
Usually, the mucus secreted in the bronchial tubes is the body’s natural defence against foreign
bodies and minute particles including bacteria and viruses. The mucosal membranes also have hair-like cilia on them
which help push out the polluted mucus up to the throat to be swallowed or coughed up.
Excessive amounts of mucus in the airways become an irritant and its presence stimulates a cough
reflex from the body to expel it. Bronchitis occurs when the inflammation of the airways paralyses the cilia
function. As a result, mucus collects in the smaller airways as well. Together with the inflamed mucosal lining of
the airways, the epiratory airways resistance increases substantially.
This high resistance prevents air from coming out of the lungs at high speed which is needed to
bring out the mucus from the airways.
In other words, even if a cough is stimulated due to an excessive accumulation of mucus, it has
become ineffective in dislodging them from the upper airways.
This loss of the body’s airway-clearing mechanism allows copious amounts of mucus to stagnate in
This then provides a most ideal environment for bacteria growth. Infectious bronchitis which
occurs during the winter is most often caused by viruses. Even after a viral infection has been resolved, the
irritation it causes can continue to cause symptoms for weeks. Infectious bronchitis may also be caused by bacteria
following an upper respiratory viral infection.
Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae are the most common organisms causing
bacterial bronchitis and sinus infection. Therefore, the antibiotics prescribed for bronchitis and sinus infection
Thus, there is a high correlation between bronchitis and sinus infection. For some people,
having a sinus infection will ultimately lead to bronchitis. So, it is important to treat any sinus infection
quickly. In order to do this, you must be familiar with sinus infection symptoms as they appear.