Bronchitis is a very common condition. Millions of cases occur every year.
Elderly people, infants, and young children are at higher risk for acute bronchitis than people in other age groups.
People of all ages can develop chronic bronchitis, but it occurs more often in people who are older than 45. Also, many adults who develop chronic bronchitis are smokers. Women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.
Smoking and having an existing lung disease greatly increase your risk for bronchitis. Contact with dust, chemical fumes, and vapors from certain jobs also increases your risk for the condition. Examples include jobs in coal mining, textile manufacturing, grain handling, and livestock farming.
Air pollution, infections, and allergies can worsen the symptoms of chronic bronchitis, especially if you smoke.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.