Bronchiectasis is a lung disease that usually results from an infection or other condition that injures the walls of the airways in the lungs. This injury is the beginning of a cycle in which the airways slowly lose their ability to clear out mucus, resulting in mucus buildup and an environment in which bacteria can grow. This leads to repeated serious lung infections that cause more damage to the airways. Over time, the airways become stretched out, flabby and scarred and unable to move air in and out. Bronchiectasis usually begins in childhood, but symptoms may not appear until months or even years after he or she has started having repeated lung infections.
The most common signs and symptoms are:
*Daily cough, over months or years
*Daily production of large amounts of mucus, or phlegm
*Repeated lung infections
*Shortness of breath
*Pain in the Chest
Over time, more serious symptoms may develop, including:
*Coughing up blood or bloody mucus
Bronchiectasis can also lead to other serious health conditions, including collapsed lung, heart failure and brain abscess.
Bronchiectasis is caused by two phases of airway damage. In the first phase, the initial damage (or “insult”) is caused by an infection, inflammatory disorder or another condition that affects the lungs. Healthcare providers don’t know the initial cause in up to 40% of people with bronchiectasis.
The first insult makes you more likely to get inflammation and repeated infections that cause further damage to lungs. This is the second phase, or the “vicious cycle.”
Some of the specific causes of the initial damage (“insult”) which starts the cycle of bronchiectasis include:
*Mycobacterial infections, like MAC infections or tuberculosis (TB).
*Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lupus (SLE) and Sjögren’s syndrome.
*Foreign bodies, tumors or lymph nodes that block airways and prevent mucus clearance.
*Conditions that decrease immunity and increase risk of infections (like HIV and hypogammaglobulinemia).
*Primary ciliary dyskinesia
*Organ transplant. Transplant medications decrease immunity and can increase risk of infection and bronchiectasis.
*Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), an allergy to a type of fungus.
*Fibrosis (scarring) from radiation.
*Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
- COVID-19 cause bronchiectasis:
Research suggests that COVID-19 isn’t a very common cause of bronchiectasis. But if you’ve had acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with COVID-19, you may have pseudobronchiectasis. Pseudobronchiectasis looks like bronchiectasis, but it resolves over time rather than causing the cycle of repeated infections and lung damage.
The most common cause of bronchiectasis depends on where a person lives. In the U.S. and other western countries, the most common cause of bronchiectasis is cystic fibrosis. Worldwide, it’s tuberculosis. In many cases, healthcare providers can’t determine the cause of bronchiectasis.
One can reduce his or her risk of developing bronchiectasis by managing his or her lung health:
*To make sure every person family is up-to-date on recommended vaccinations. Pertussis, the flu, pneumococcal disease, measles and staph infections can all cause or worsen bronchiectasis.
*Work with the healthcare provider to treat any ongoing health conditions, especially ones that affects the lungs.
*Always avoid breathing in things that can hurt lungs, like cigarette smoke, vaping, fumes and gases.
DIAGNOSIS AND TESTS:
A healthcare provider will diagnose bronchiectasis by examining the patient and asking abouthis or her health history. He will listen to lungs and test how well it is working. Now if he or she thinks the patient has bronchiectasis or another lung condition, the health care provider will order imaging tests to look at the structure of the lungs.
The followibng tests are recomended to diagnose bronchiectasis:
*Chest CT scan or X-ray. A provider uses a machine to take pictures of the lungs to see if the airways are damaged.
*Blood tests and sputum cultures. A provider takes samples of blood or mucus (sputum) to find out if the patient has have an infection.
*Lung function tests. A provider uses lung function tests to determine how well the lungs are working. THe patient will breathe into a machine that measures the lung function.
*Genetic testing. A provider may take samples of patient’s blood or other body fluid to test for diseases.
*Sweat chloride test. If a provider thinks the patient could have cystic fibrosis, he or she will perform a sweat test. The provider will make thre patient’s arm or leg sweat, collect a sample and test it for signs of cystic fibrosis.
*Bronchoscopy. In some cases, a provider may use a procedure to look more closely at the patient’s airways (bronchoscopy). he or she will use a bronchoscope (a long flexible tube with a light and camera at the end) to find and remove anything blocking the airways and get samples of mucus or pus from the lungs for testing.
Bronchiectasis treatments help get rid of infected mucus, kill bacteria and decrease inflammation. They include:
*Antibiotics. Antibiotics can treat infections caused by bacteria. You can take antibiotics in pill form, but if you have a severe infection, a provider will use an IV to give you antibiotics directly into your bloodstream. Providers also often prescribe inhaled antibiotics for bronchiectasis. You may use a nebulizer for inhaled medications, which makes the medicine into a mist that you breathe in.
*Macrolides. Macrolides are drugs that treat infections and inflammation at the same time.
*Expectorant and mucolytics. These are medications that thin mucus and help you cough it out. These are available over-the-counter or by prescription.
*Physical therapy. Postural draining and chest percussion therapy can help loosen and remove mucus. Breathing exercises can help open up your airways.
*Medical devices. Oscillating positive expiratory pressure (PEP) devices and percussive vests break up and pull mucus out from your lungs.
You can reduce your risk of developing bronchiectasis by managing your lung health:
Make sure you and your family are up-to-date on recommended vaccinations. Pertussis, the flu, pneumococcal disease, measles and staph infections can all cause or worsen bronchiectasis.
Work with your healthcare provider to treat any ongoing health conditions, especially ones that affect your lungs. Keep your appointments and stick to your treatment plan. Talk to your provider if you feel like medications or therapies aren’t working.
Avoid breathing in things that can hurt your lungs, like cigarette smoke, vaping, fumes and gases.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.