Bronchiectasis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
What Is Bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis as stated is a medical condition in which the airways get blocked due to mucous formation. This condition arises when the body is unable to discard the mucous which then starts to collect in the airways. The gradual buildup of this mucous then leads to various infections and widens the airways. The widened and weakened airways then start to become scarred and deformed allowing more mucous to build up causing infections.
An individual can have Bronchiectasis irrespective of the age but usually it starts in childhood even though the symptoms may be observed much later. It can also be as a result of a birth defect like cystic fibrosis. It can also develop as a result of other medical conditions like tuberculosis, pneumonia, influenza etc. This condition can also develop due to blockage caused by some form of growth or ingesting something like a coin.
As of today, there is no clear cut cure for Bronchiectasis but with adequate and prompt treatment majority of affected individuals live a normal healthy life but the crux is that the disease needs to be identified and treated at the soonest possible time.
Causes Of Bronchiectasis
Bronchiectasis is basically caused by some sort of injury to the airways. The injury could be some form of lung infection like pneumonia, pertussis, tuberculosis etc. Disease conditions like cystic fibrosis etc.. can also cause Bronchiectasis. It can also be caused due to ingestion of something like a toy or a coin. A disease condition called as Congenital Bronchiectasis is caused due to malformation of the lungs in a fetus.
Symptoms Of Bronchiectasis
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal chest sounds
- Production of large quantities of mucous
- Chest pain
Diagnosis of Bronchiectasis
- Chest x-ray
- CT scan
- Pulmonary Function Test
- Sputum culture
Treatment For Bronchiectasis
As stated, there is as of now no clear cut treatment or cure for Bronchiectasis but with appropriate treatment majority of affected individuals lead a normal lifestyle. Some treatments given for this condition are:
- Antibiotics to treat infections
- Bronchodilators for opening up the blocked airways
- Expectorants for coughing up mucous
- Physical therapy measures for clearing mucous
- In severe cases oxygen treatments.
Is Bronchiectasis A Serious Medical Condition?
Bronchiectasis as stated causes the airways to get blocked and lose their ability to clear up mucous resulting in buildup of mucous in the body. This can lead to frequent lung infections. With gradual buildup of mucous, the airways get weak and scarred and start to lose their ability to function properly. This means that the other vital organs of the body get less oxygenated air and may start to malfunction or get damaged. Bronchiectasis can cause potentially serious medical conditions like respiratory failure, heart failure, or a collapsed lung but as stated appropriate treatment basically rules out such probability.
Prevention Of Bronchiectasis
Bronchiectasis can definitely be prevented if lung infections are taken care of appropriately and on time: some measures which can be taken for preventing Bronchiectasis are:
- Vaccinations for measles and whooping cough
- Avoiding toxic fumes or smoke which can harm the lungs
- Avoiding ingesting small objects and seeking immediate medical attention if in case it occurs.