In healthy lungs, the breathing passages have protective walls that allow for the clearing of mucus. This enables full airflow in and out of the body. With bronchiectasis, inflammation of these passages, called the bronchial tubes, causes the thickening of the walls and development of scar tissue. This inhibits the lungs’ ability to clear mucus, leading to buildup and disruption of normal airflow.
Living With Bronchiectasis and Getting the Help You Need
Bronchiectasis can be difficult to live with, but there are effective treatments. The following can help you learn more about how this condition interferes with normal lung functioning so you can make proactive and informed decisions about your care.
How Does Bronchiectasis Develop in the Lungs?
The most common way for the inflammation, thickening and scarring of the airways to develop is through the presence of another condition. This can include genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and fungal infections, among others. By causing the development of bronchiectasis, a vicious cycle can occur that makes this condition worsen over time:
- The lungs become inflamed and damaged.
- Mucus builds up in the lungs.
- Excess mucus can cause infections due to buildup of bacteria.
- New infections can cause additional lung damage.
- The lungs become even less able to clear mucus.
This is why it is so important to be able to identify symptoms for bronchiectasis as early as possible so the condition can be properly diagnosed and treated.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Some of the earliest warning signs of bronchiectasis are shortness of breath and a persistent cough. Chest pains, clubbing in the fingers and toes and general fatigue can also develop. After diagnosing the condition through a physical examination and diagnostic testing, doctors will typically make recommendations for lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, while prescribing treatment to relieve symptoms. Many patients are able to find relief through medication, breathing exercises, a nutritious diet and the use of supplemental oxygen delivered through a tank.
Patients are also increasingly turning to regenerative treatments, such as the cellular therapy we provide at Lung Health Institute. Using advancements in medical technology, we are able to reduce inflammation and restore lung functioning using a sample of a patient’s own blood.
Take the next step to find relief. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.