What Is Bronchiectasis?

Q:
What is bronchiectasis?

A:
Bronchiectasis is a condition where the bronchial tubes of your lungs are permanently damaged, widened, and thickened which allows bacteria and mucus to build up and pool in lungs through damaged air passages and results in frequent infections and blockages of the airways.

There is no cure for bronchiectasis. Flare-ups must be treated quickly to maintain oxygen flow to the rest of your body and prevent further lung damage.

Causes
Any lung injury can cause bronchiectasis. There are two categories of this condition. Cystic fibrosis (CF), also known as CF bronchiectasis, is a genetic condition that causes an abnormal production of mucus.
The other category is non-CF bronchiectasis. The most common known conditions that can lead to non-CF bronchiectasis include:

  • an abnormally functioning immune system
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • autoimmune diseases
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (an inheritable cause of COPD)
  • HIV
  • allergic aspergillosis (an allergic lung reaction to fungus)
  • lung infections such as whooping cough and tuberculosis

Cystic fibrosis causes about one-third of bronchiectasis. CF affects the lungs and other organs like the pancreas and liver. In the lungs, this results in repeated infections. In other organs, it causes poor functioning.

Symptoms
Symptoms of bronchiectasis can take months or even years to develop. Some typical symptoms include:

  • chronic daily cough
  • coughing up blood
  • abnormal sounds or wheezing in the chest with breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • coughing up large amounts of thick mucus every day
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • thickening of the skin under your nails and toes, known as clubbing
  • frequent respiratory infections

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: _bronchiectasis; bronchiectasis; bronchiectasis+

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.