Chronic Bronchitis And Hydration

What is chronic bronchitis?

The inflammation of the breathing tubes (airways) is known as bronchitis, and these affected airways are called bronchi. In bronchitis, there is excessive mucus production and other changes as a result of the inflammation. There are different types of bronchitis which are acute and chronic bronchitis.1

Chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that can block airflow in the lungs and cause breathing problems. This leads to a restriction in the amount of airflow into and out of the lungs, causing excessive amounts of sticky mucus to build up in the airways due to constant inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tubes.1 A chronic productive cough lasting longer than three months that occurs more than twice in a two-year period is considered to be chronic bronchitis.2 According to the American Lung Association, more than 12.5 million people in the United States live with COPD. However, the majority of COPD symptoms take a while to develop, and as a result, many people do not know they have it.3

What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

Homeostasis is crucial to the functioning of all organ systems, including the lungs

There are numerous known causes of chronic bronchitis. Exposure to cigarette smoke—whether through active smoking or passive inhalation—remains the most critical factor responsible.4 Cigarette smoke is the biggest contributing factor in the United States.5 Smoke from pipes, cigars, and other tobacco products, particularly if inhaled, can also lead to chronic bronchitis. Smog, industrial pollutants, and hazardous chemicals are just a few of the respiratory system irritants that can induce chronic bronchitis when inhaled. Also, people who have a history of respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, or asthma are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis.4 Before experiencing breathing difficulties, people with chronic bronchitis frequently cough and produce mucus for years.1 The most common symptoms of chronic bronchitis include:

  • Cough, often called smoker’s cough
  • Coughing up mucus (expectoration)
  • Wheezing
  • Chest discomfort

Can dehydration make chronic bronchitis worse?

The mucus becomes too sticky

Pathogens are captured by mucus, which then removes them from the lungs. However, if mucus builds up in the lungs and becomes too thick and sticky, it starts to work against you by obstructing the airways and allowing bacterial infections to spread. This also makes breathing even more difficult.6

Bronchi lining becomes too dry

Increased mucin concentrations and mucus buildup in the lungs are caused by the body's failure to properly hydrate airway surfaces. Phlegm production and the persistent airway infections that are common in people with chronic bronchitis are the results of this process. The accumulation of mucus in the lungs of chronic bronchitis patients produces symptoms and disease progression.6

Dehydration can worsen allergy symptoms 

Dehydration causes the airways to become dry and irritated. To make up for this, the body produces mucus, which obstructs airways and causes difficulty breathing, leading to an exacerbation. This triggers an allergic reaction in which white cells convert amino acids into histamine. This causes a mucus buildup which is an exacerbation risk for those battling chronic bronchitis and other COPDs.7 


A common component of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is chronic bronchitis. This is a group of lung diseases that impair breathing by obstructing airflow. Staying hydrated will assist those with chronic bronchitis and other COPD diseases. This will allow less production of histamine and stimulate the nerve systems that produce adrenaline, which lowers the chance of triggering an allergic reaction.


  1. Chronic bronchitis [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from: 
  2. Mejza F, Gnatiuc L, Buist AS, Vollmer WM, Lamprecht B, Obaseki DO, et al. Prevalence and burden of chronic bronchitis symptoms: results from the BOLD study. Eur Respir J. 2017 Nov;50(5):1700621.
  3. Chronic bronchitis [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from:
  4. Widysanto A, Mathew G. Chronic bronchitis. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from:
  5. Smoking [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from:
  6. Chronic bronchitis: New insights could lead to a first diagnostic test, better treatments: Study describes how airway dehydration makes mucus thick -- the hallmark of chronic bronchitis, the precursor to deadly COPD [Internet]. ScienceDaily. [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from:
  7. Burkhart L. The importance of staying hydrated if you have COPD [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from: 

Habeebullah Oladipo

Bachelor of Science - B.Sc. Microbiology, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

Habeebullah is a Microbiologist and an early career researcher with keen interest in Infectious diseases,
Antimicrobial Resistance and global health.
He is currently undertaking his "Bachelor of Pharmacy" in University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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