Causes and Symptoms of Bronchiectasis
Bronchiectasis is a lung disease where the bronchial tubes of lungs are widened, thickened or permanently damaged. The damaged tubes allow bacteria and mucus to build up and pool in your lungs. As a result frequent infections and blockages of the airways is caused.
Bronchiectasis has no cure, but it is manageable. With treatment, you can typically live a normal life. It must be treated quickly to maintain oxygen flow to the rest of your body and prevent further lung damage.
Bronchiectasis is divided into two categories – cystic fibrosis (CF)-bronchiectasis and non-CF bronchiectasis.
There are many reasons for the cause of Bronchiectasis. The most common causes are :
- A lung infection during childhood, such as pneumonia or whooping cough.
- Underlying problems with the immune system.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) – an allergy to a certain type of fungi
- Humoral immunodeficiency – low levels of infection-fighting proteins in the blood
- Inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatologic diseases – rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s disease
- Genetic cause of COPD in some people
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD
- HIV infection
The symptoms may vary from person to person, the common symptoms include :-
- Coughing up yellow or green mucus every day
- Shortness of breath that gets worse during exacerbations
- Feeling run-down and tired, especially during exacerbations
- Fevers and chills, usually developing during exacerbations
- Wheezing or a whistling sound while you breathe
- Coughing up blood or mucus mixed with blood, a condition called hemoptysis
- Sinusitis/Nasal inflammation and fatigue.
- Chest pain
The damage caused to the lungs by bronchiectasis is permanent, but treatment can help relieve your symptoms and stop the damage getting worse.
The treatment includes :
- Exercises and special devices to help you clear mucus out of your lungs
- Medication to help improve airflow within the lungs
- Antibiotics to treat any lung infections that develop
Surgery is usually only considered for bronchiectasis in rare cases like coughing up large amounts of blood or when the lung stops working properly. This problem can be life-threatening and may require emergency surgery to treat it.
So, if you see any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediatedly. A early diagnosis is very important to manage Bronchiectasis.
Stay Healthy and Happy