Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition where the bronchial tubes of your lungs are damaged and thickened. This leads to a build-up of excess mucus.
Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung condition where the airways in the lung are abnormally widened, thickened and damaged. This results in a build-up of mucus which becomes trapped in the airways and is difficult to clear. These pools of mucus are breeding grounds for germs and infection. Infection, inflammation and scarring repeatedly occur, leading to further damage of the lung and worsening symptoms.
The most common symptoms of bronchiectasis are cough and chronic copious sputum production (excess mucus/phlegm). Patients may also experience coughing up blood, weight loss, lethargy, chest pain and shortness of breath.
Bronchiectasis is usually diagnosed with a Computed Tomographic (CT) scan of the chest. Sputum samples may be collected to look for specific germs which will aid in antibiotic choice during treatment. Blood tests may also be done to look for any underlying cause of bronchiectasis. In some cases, a bronchoscopy, which involves putting a flexible tube with a camera at the end into the lungs, may be required for an inspection of the airways as well as to collect sputum samples.
The damage that occurs from bronchiectasis is not reversible but the condition can be managed. The goals of treatment are to prevent infections, break the cycle of inflammation and slow the progression of disease.
Some tips on living with bronchiectasis: