Other conditions with symptoms similar to acute bronchitis

Many conditions cause symptoms similar to acute bronchitis. Some of those conditions include:

  • Pneumonia , a potentially serious infection of the lungs. Pneumonia can make it hard to breathe.
  • Asthma , a long-term (chronic) disease of the airways of the lungs. Symptoms include periodic episodes of difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing.
  • Allergies, which are an overreaction of the immune system to usually harmless substances. Symptoms include cough and difficulty breathing. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is a common allergy.
  • Exposure to chemicals at work (occupational exposure).
  • Cold, influenza, or other upper respiratory infections.
  • Sinusitis , an infection of the mucous membranes that line the inside of the nose and facial sinuses. Symptoms include pain and a chronic cough that produces mucus.
  • Mild heart failure. In heart failure, your heart is not able to pump blood effectively. Shortness of breath is one of the symptoms.
  • Bronchiolitis (in young children), an inflammation of the small air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and cough.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) , the abnormal backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. This can cause cough and chest discomfort.
  • Lung cancer . Symptoms include cough and shortness of breath.

Last Updated: July 23, 2008

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