The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Bronchiectasis is a condition where the bronchial tubes in the lungs have suffered permanent damage. The damaged tubes allow bad bacteria and mucus to build up and pool in the lungs, causing infections and airway blockage. There is no cure for bronchiectasis; however, symptoms can be managed to improve the overall quality of life. In this post, we’re going to delve into bronchiectasis symptoms and how they can affect you.
Frequent coughing is one of the main symptoms for people with bronchiectasis. If you have bronchiectasis, you probably have a chronic cough that just doesn’t seem to go away. You may cough up large amounts of mucus, or even blood.
Specific medications can help to reduce a chronic cough. For example, bronchodilators like albuterol and tiotropium open up the airways. Your doctor will be able to provide the best advice as to which medications are best for your particular situation.
Additionally, huffing and breathing exercises can help to bring up mucus. Drinking a lot of water can also help to cause the mucus to become thinner, making it easier to expel.
Shortness of Breath
Experiencing shortness of breath is another bronchiectasis symptom. You might experience shortness of breath after engaging in a physical activity such as walking or jogging. You might even feel short of breath when just sitting in place.
If you’re having trouble breathing in enough oxygen, your doctor might prescribe supplemental oxygen. Some people require oxygen 24 hours a day, whereas others only use supplemental oxygen as needed. Keeping an eye on your oxygen saturation level is important for understanding when to use supplemental oxygen.
Many people with bronchiectasis experience unintentional weight loss. When you’re already having trouble breathing, trying to eat is difficult. As a result, you might eat less just because the thought of putting food in your mouth when you’re already struggling to breathe is unappealing.
Additionally, because you’re likely not breathing in as much oxygen when you have bronchiectasis, your body has to work harder to spread the oxygen throughout your body. This burns more calories, meaning you have to eat more to supply your body with the energy it needs to spread oxygen throughout
To combat unintentional weight loss, be sure to eat a healthy diet. Focus on whole foods that aren’t processed or deep-fried. You can also choose foods that are high in calories and fat, but remember, not all foods are created equal. Focus on healthy choices, such as nuts, avocados and low-fat cheese.
When your body is struggling to get enough oxygen, it makes sense that you will experience fatigue throughout the day. Your body will feel tired when it is low on oxygen.
Fight fatigue by exercising regularly, sleeping for seven to nine hours a night (or taking short naps during the day) and drinking plenty of water. In fact, staying hydrated can actually help to minimize bronchiectasis symptoms.
Frequent Respiratory Infections
Mucus and bacteria build up in your lungs can cause frequent infections. Speak with your doctor about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent and treat infections.
You can proactively take expectorants, which aid in the coughing up of mucus. Keeping your lungs clear is a good way to reduce the chance of getting an infection.
Improve your Quality of Life with Bronchiectasis
While there is no cure for bronchiectasis, you can work to alleviate symptoms and improve your quality of life. Many people with this condition have experienced fewer or less severe bronchiectasis symptoms after receiving stem cell treatment from the Lung Institute.
Stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute is a minimally invasive, three-day outpatient procedure where stem cells are taken from a patient’s own body. They are harvested from either blood or bone marrow, treated, then almost immediately reintroduced into the body. Stem cells may have the ability to reduce inflammation and harness the progression of the disease.
If you or a loved one is tired of severe bronchiectasis symptoms, the Lung Institute may be able to help. To learn more about stem cell therapy, contact us to speak with a patient coordinator today.