What is Bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis is an underdiagnosed lung condition that often goes on for years before it is correctly identified. The tubes going into the lungs are damaged and permanently widened making it difficult for them to be kept clean and healthy. The tubes produce excessive amounts of mucus which can easily get infected leading to serious chest infections.
How do I know if I have Bronchiectasis?
There are many clues that may point to the diagnosis. A history of childhood measles or whooping cough can lead onto this condition. Previous severe chest infections, pneumonia or TB are also risk factors. Coughing up mucus everyday or needing frequent causes of antibiotics should prompt seeing a doctor and getting further tests.
How will the diagnosis be confirmed?
A Chest xray followed by a CT scan is required. Blood tests to look for underlying or associated conditions as well as sputum analysis are usually part of the work up too.
How is Bronchiectasis treated?
The aim of treatment is to reduce symptoms and prevent further infections and disease progression. Being taught chest physiotherapy exercises to keep the chest clear is the most important component. Remaining physically active and well hydrated are essential. Inhalers are often used and antibiotics are often needed.