Chronic Bronchitis | Diagnosis & Tests


How does my doctor know if I have chronic bronchitis?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms: Are you coughing up mucus? Are you having trouble breathing? Does your chest feel tight? How long have you had these symptoms? Do you smoke cigarettes? How many cigarettes do you smoke each day? How many years have you been smoking? Have you been breathing in other things that can irritate your lungs?

If your doctor thinks you have chronic bronchitis, you may be tested to find out if your lungs are damaged. You might have a pulmonary function test to see how well your lungs are working. During this test, you breathe into a machine that measures the amount of air in your lungs. Your doctor may also order blood tests and a chest X-ray.


Chronic Bronchitis: Primary Care Management by JM Heath, MD; R Mongia, MD (American Family Physician May 15, 1998,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 05/98