What is Bronchiectasis?

Man Coughing With Bronchiectasis

The airways are surrounded by cartilage and muscle that provide support and maintain the shape of the airways. Constant irritation to the muscle and cartilage can result in their destruction, causing the airways to enlarge. This inflammation and permanent widening of the airways within the lungs is called bronchiectasis. Severe infections with a virus or bacteria, blockage of an airway, or a defect clearing secretions are common causes of bronchiectasis.

What are the Symptoms of Bronchiectasis?

Common features of bronchiectasis often include constant cough with discolored sputum, wheezing, shortness of breath, and changes in the nails. Many patients often find blood in their sputum. Bronchiectasis is not contagious.

How is Bronchiectasis Diagnosed?

Bronchiectasis X-Ray

Your doctor can detect this disease by evaluating the symptoms of your underlying lung disease and ordering specific tests. Common tests include a sputum sample, a chest x-ray, and a CT scan.

How is Bronchiectasis Treated?

Treatment for bronchiectasis may involve chest physiotherapy, inhalers, and antibiotics. Chest physiotherapy involves postural changes that allow for better drainage of secretions from the lungs. The inhalers allow for increased airflow through the lungs, and help clear the secretions. Antibiotics reduce some of the inflammation by killing bacteria that have infected the airways. Your doctor may recommend that you be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza. Most patients tolerate treatment very well.


If You Suspect You or a Loved One Has Bronchiectasis, Call Us Today

If you or a loved one have exhibited the signs of chronic bronchiectasis, it is important that you get a diagnosis from a pulmonary specialist. Our physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases. Once you have been diagnosed with bronchiectasis, it is important to see your pulmonologist regularly for checkups and to monitor your lungs. Call our office today for the diagnosis and treatment you need if you think you or a loved one may have this disease.

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