Chronic bronchitis is a progressive lung disease that falls under the umbrella term of COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A diagnosis of chronic bronchitis starts with a thorough medical history and physical examination. The presence of a productive, chronic cough that lasts three months out of the year for at least two years in a row should lead your doctor to suspect a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis.
Once your medical information and physical examination are complete, your doctor may conduct the following tests to confirm your diagnosis:
Pulmonary function testing, namely spirometry, determines the presence and amount of airflow obstruction present in chronic bronchitis. A spirometry test can be performed in your doctor's office, the hospital, or a health care clinic, and is the primary tool for diagnosing chronic bronchitis and other forms of COPD.
2. Chest X-Ray
Although a chest X-ray is not a definitive tool for diagnosing chronic bronchitis, your doctor will probably order one to help confirm your diagnosis. A chest X-ray is also an excellent tool for confirming the presence of certain lung infections like pneumonia, which can lead to an exacerbation of COPD.