What Is The Definition Of Bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis is the disease of the lung that results in persist coughing up of mucus because of scarred tissue in bronchial tubes (a passage which lets the air into the lungs).

Bronchiectasis is a condition when the bronchi of your lungs are damaged permanently, or thickened. Thickened bronchial tubes, which are responsible for getting the air into the lungs, permit microbes and mucus to collect in your lungs. It leads to frequent infections and blockages of the air passage. Also, the cilia (it helps move mucus) destroy due to infections. When that happens, infections get more frequent, and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. When breathing or coughing gets worse, it is referred to as exacerbations.

As of now, there is no cure for Bronchiectasis; however, with the right treatment and on-time diagnosis, it is manageable. With treatment, a person who has Bronchiectasis can carry on with a normal life. In any case, flare-ups must be dealt with rapidly to keep up oxygen flow in your body as well as prevent any further harm.

What are the causes of Bronchiectasis?

Any lung injury can cause Bronchiectasis. There are two primary causes of this disease.

1-  Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

The first cause is identified with having cystic fibrosis (CF) and is also known as CF bronchiectasis. It is a hereditary condition that causes an unusual creation of mucus and long-lasting lung infections, reducing the ability of a patient to breadth.

Cystic Fibrosis mainly infects the lungs and different organs like the pancreas and liver. In the lungs, this results in repeated infections. In other organs of our body, it causes poor working.

2-  Non-CF Bronchiectasis

The other cause of this condition is non-CF Bronchiectasis, which isn’t identified with CF. It is called idiopathic Bronchiectasis. The most widely recognized reasons that can prompt non-CF Bronchiectasis are mentioned below:

  • An abnormal working of the immune system
  • Past severe infections damaging the lungs
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Autoimmune illnesses
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Genetic disorders, for example, primary ciliary dyskinesia or alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
  • HIV
  • Allergic aspergillosis (a hypersensitive lung response to fungus)
  • Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome of lung diseases, for example, coughing and tuberculosis.
  • Obstructed airways due to a tumor or an inhaled object
Bronchiectasis Complications

What Are The Symptoms Of Bronchiectasis?

Symptoms of this condition can take months or even a year to appear. Some of the common symptoms of Bronchiectasis include:

  • Constant everyday cough
  • Coughing blood
  • Breath shortness
  • Unusual sounds or wheezing in the chest with breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight reduction
  • Coughing that results in mucus
  • Weakness, fatigue, night sweat
  • Fever and chills
  • Change in the structure of fingernails and toenails (clubbing)
  • Respiratory infections

Bronchiectasis Diagnosis Guidelines

In case you’re experiencing any of these side effects, you should see your primary care physician quickly. Your doctor will listen to your lungs for blockage and may suggest a blood test to look for infection and anemia. Other tests include:

Chest CT

Scan to check the images of lungs for any sign of a blockage in the airways

Blood Tests And Sputum Tests

To see whether there is an infection

Lung Tests

To decide how well you are breathing and see how well your lungs are working.

Bronchoscopy

It is an approach to see the insides of the lungs. It utilizes light and a camera on a cylinder embedded inside the patient through the nose or mouth and afterward down the trachea into the lungs. On account of blockages, a bronchoscopy can discover and expel the mucus hindering the air passage.

Bronchiectasis Treatment

What are the Treatment choices for Bronchiectasis?

Since there’s no cure for Bronchiectasis, treatment is critical to assist you in dealing with the condition. The principal objective of treatment is to monitor diseases and mucus discharges. It’s additionally necessary to forestall further obstruction of the air passage and limit damages to the lungs. Common treatment plans include:

  • Breathing activities and chest physiotherapy for cleaning airways
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Antibiotics to treat the infection
  • Bronchodilators like albuterol (Proventil) and tiotropium (Spiriva) to clear airways
  • Drugs to thin mucus
  • Vaccination to prevent any respiratory infections
  • Expectorants to help in coughing mucus
  • Oxygen treatment

In case, there is bleeding in the lung, or if the Bronchiectasis is just in one piece of your lung, you may require surgery to remove the infected region.

Another treatment of Bronchiectasis includes draining the bronchial discharges, supported by gravity. A respiratory specialist can help you in coughing up the abundance of mucus.

What is the difference between Bronchiectasis and Pneumonia?

Many people get confused between the two conditions because they have almost similar symptoms. Bronchiectasis is a severe condition in which your bronchial tubes get swollen and infected, which carries air to the lungs. Pneumonia is another infection of lungs, but rather than bronchial tubes it gets in tiny air sacs in your lungs or alveoli. This disease can be mild, but sometimes severe, especially for the children and adults 65 or older.

Bronchiectasis Complications

Some complications of Bronchiectasis are:

Infective Exacerbation

– In this condition, infection worsens with more mucus collection that may smell foul.

Massive Hemoptysis

– The term used for coughing up blood. Bronchiectasis can become severe when a large blood vessel burst and is classed as a medical emergency.

Respiratory Failure

– It is a lack of oxygen from the lungs to the blood and a lack of carbon dioxide removal. Respiratory failure can lead to shortness of breath, quick breathing, and a situation in which a person cannot breathe.

Bronchiectasis FAQs

Question 1

Is Bronchiectasis a chronic condition?
Answer: Yes, It is a chronic condition where the walls of bronchial tubes get swollen with infection and inflammation.

Question 2

Can you have asthma and Bronchiectasis both at the same time?
Answer: Yes, you can have asthma and Bronchiectasis both at the same time. According to a study conducted by the Sotiria Chest Diseases Hospital in Greece, Bronchiectasis is common among patients with severe asthma conditions. It even worsens their asthma attacks.

Question 3

What is the difference between COPD and Bronchiectasis?
Answer: It is a chronic condition caused by an infection in the lungs, whereas COPD is a condition resulting from excessive smoking, allergies, or pollution. COPD is similar to Bronchiectasis in symptoms, for example, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, permanent damage to lungs, and so on.

Question 4

How Bronchiectasis is treated?
Answer: It is treated with hydration, medicines like antibiotics, bronchodilators, expectorants, and chest physical therapy (CPT). In some cases, surgery is also recommended if there is bleeding in the lungs.

Question 5

Can Bronchiectasis spread from one person to another?
Answer: No, It is not a contagious disease.

Question 6

What is traction Bronchiectasis?
Answer: Traction bronchiectasis is an etiological subtype of Bronchiectasis where there is irreversible bronchi damage within the section of pulmonary fibrosis or distorted lung parenchymal architecture.

Question 7

What is pulmonary fibrosis?
Answer: Pulmonary fibrosis is another chronic lung condition in which lung tissues get damaged and scarred. The lung tissues become thick and stiff, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly. As the disease progresses, breathing problems get worse.

References:

Signs Of Lungs Infection
nhs.uk

Screening and Prevention
nhlbi.nih.gov

Treating and Managing Bronchiectasis
lung.org