What is Bronchiectasis?

Posted on Updated on 21 April, 2018

What is Bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis is a disease in which the bronchial tubes of the lungs get damaged, and the flat muscles of the tubes get destroyed. Also, the flexibility of the bronchi is often lost. The disease is often acquired or has the genetic origin. Many doctors refer bronchiectasis as the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that also includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Who is at risk?

  • People who are suffering from alpha-1 antiproteinase or cilia syndrome.
  • People who have cystic fibrosis.
  • Children who get lung infection early in their life may suffer from this disease later.
  • People who are already suffering from lung infection or who has the history of bowel disease and tuberculosis.
  • People who consume drugs and alcohol.
  • People who are exposed to harmful gases or anything that damage the tissues of the lungs.

Causes of Bronchiectasis

This disease is caused due to the damage to the walls of bronchi that destroys muscles and the elastic tissue. If the bronchi get damaged, secretions that usually get developed in the lungs are not removed well causes the infection and also produce them. The infections can then cause further damage to the walls of the bronchial that generates the cycle of increased infection and impaired. If it continues, the functionality of the lung decreases.

Types of Bronchiectasis

Many researchers have found three types of bronchiectasis that are defined by microscopic or anatomical appearance.

  1. Varicose Bronchiectasis shows deformity with the airway wall with the production of sputum and mucus by an individual. Some of them might appear in the form of a bead.
  2. Cylindrical Bronchiectasis, this is the mildest form of the disease that losses the average airway tapering.
  3. Cystic Bronchiectasis is the rarest and also the most severe form of illness. This disease has vast spaces of air and also honeycombed appearance in CT scan. They also have the thicker walls with emphysema. Also, many people seem to be having more than one in their lungs.

Signs and Symptoms

Its symptoms change time to time. The most common symptom is a cough and the production of sputum. Usually, it is clear but when the injuries in the bronchial wall occur it can also become bloody. If the infection takes place, then the mucus even changes to green or yellow color. As the disease gets severe, coughing and the mucous production increases, a person becomes fatigued and short of breath as the functioning of the lung decreases.

Some people also lose their weight because of the effort they make to breathe. A symptom of the disease pneumonia is also same as bronchiectasis so it may get difficult to diagnose if another disease is present.

Best time to Consult a Doctor

Refer to a medical practitioner if you are suffering from a chronic cough from past three weeks or more, shortness of breath, and blood in a cough.

How to Diagnose Bronchiectasis?

The diagnosis involves the history of chronic daily cough and sputum production. Some of the tests are chest X-ray, high-resolution CT scan of the lungs and Sputum Analysis that usually happen.

For some other patients, other tests may also occur to check if other diseases are contributing to this disease. It includes autoimmune screening tests, alpha one antitrypsin level, and Vitamin D deficiency.

The pulmonary function test may also occur to check the baseline of the lung that helps in determining the extent of the lung tissues.

Treatment for Bronchiectasis

This is not a curable disease but progresses slowly. Its treatment is based on the control of the symptoms and also preventing further infections that are present. The treatments include immunization check time to time, staying away from the factors like smoking, alcohol, cigarette, and drugs and also encouraging the right food and nutrients. Increasing of the fluid like water, juice, milk, etc. to keep the mucous nonsticky is another kind of treatment. Many times expectorant and the thinning of the mucous medication help in decreasing the symptoms.

The therapy of the chest which usually includes clapping on the back of your chest, this helps in loosening the sputum so that all of that can be coughed up.

If a patient is suffering from the infection, medicines effective against the virus, fungus or bacteria and the chest physiotherapy are considered as the primary treatments. Also if needed, corticosteroid therapy, bronchodilators, and oxygen therapy are also used in many patients.People who are suffering from severe bronchiectasis get hospitalized and receive IV medications.

Patients with this disease that cannot be controlled require the surgical therapy. This treatment removes everything like foreign bodies, mucous plugging or the tumors that eliminate bronchiectasis. The excessive disease might be treated surgically or by the bronchial artery system embolization. Many patients benefit from the surgical removal of the non-functional lung tissues.

Can it be Prevented?

Bronchiectasis because of the genetic defects is not preventive currently. But, the environmental factors that create this disease can be avoided like drugs, alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and environmental toxins. So, avoiding the situations that can lead you to pulmonary infections reduces the risk of bronchiectasis. In children, whooping cough can cause this disease later in life, but the immunization can entirely prevent this cause.

Prediction of Bronchiectasis

Causes of bronchiectasis like cystic fibrosis usually consist of the worse prediction than the one developed from the captured diseases. Those suffering from acquired bronchiectasis can get a fair to better prognosis if the disease is recognized early and the necessary treatment is done.

But, this disease is slowly progressive. The patients that pay attention to first symptoms and better treatment along with preventing the situations that may worsen the condition will likely be having fair to good prognosis.

So, these were some of the symptoms, diagnoses treatments, and prevention of bronchiectasis. You can avoid this disease to happen by staying away from all the harmful factors that include smoking, drinking, drugs, etc. Also, if someone near to you is doing this, stop them by explaining them about all its ill effects.