What causes bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis may be caused by genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis. It may also be caused by problems with the immune system, past lung infections, and problems with swallowing which can cause aspiration of food or fluids into the lungs.
In approximately 40% of people diagnosed with bronchiectasis the cause is unknown.
How is bronchiectasis diagnosed?
Your doctor will use
x-ray imaging and a
CT scan of the chest to diagnose bronchiectasis. The CT scan is used to show the location and the severity of the bronchiectasis.
Your doctor may also administer
lung function or breathing tests, and
cultures of your sputum. The cultures are used to determine which antibiotics are needed to treat exacerbations. Your doctor may also order a
bronchoscopy to retrieve mucus from the airways.
How is bronchiectasis treated?
There is no cure for bronchiectasis, however, symptoms can be controlled. Because bronchiectasis is a condition that typically develops over time and gets worse with repeated infections, treatment is focused on preventing infections and exacerbations.
It's important to keep your lungs as healthy as possible with good lung function. Following the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor will give you the best chance of managing the disease and preventing it from getting worse.
Many people live for years with bronchiectasis. Unfortunately, the more involved your lungs are, the more at risk you are to the loss of lung function and death.