Bronchiectasis is an incurable chronic lung condition in which the airway walls of your lungs become damaged and lose their ability to clear out mucus. And mucus build up is an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, thus causing repetitive lung infections that further damage your airways.
Bronchiectasis may be caused by another disease or condition, including:
- cystic fibrosis
- inhaled object
- whooping cough
- fungal infections
- immunodeficiency disorders
- growth, noncancerous tumor
- allergic reaction to aspergillus fungus
The most common signs and symptoms are:
- chronic cough
- chest pain, pleurisy
- shortness of breath
- repeated lung infections
- large mucus, phlegm production
And after a while, you may experience more serious symptoms, like:
Treatment for bronchiectasis focuses on treating underlying infections or conditions, and assist with mucus evacuation to help relieve your chest pain, cough and wheezing. Prevention of any further lung airway damage is important, therefore early diagnosis and treatment is encouraged.
The primary medications used to treat bronchiectasis are:
- mucus thinners ~ acetylcysteine
- corticosteroids ~ reduce lung inflammation
- bronchodilators ~ relax lung airway muscles
- saline nasal washes ~ helps control sinusitis
- expectorants ~ often in combination with decongestants
- antibiotics ~ treat repeated respiratory infections caused by bronchiectasis
Yep, you will have a purse or medicine chest full of stuff to assist you in the breathing department.
In addition, you will be coached on various physical ways to get your mucus moving. Chest physical therapy, aka chest clapping or percussion, and breathing techniques assists with mucus drainage. Oxygen therapy or surgery may be necessary if your bronchiectasis condition gets bad enough.
Respiratory infection avoidance is the key to holding down further airway damage, so here are a couple of natural measures you can take to help yourself:
- annual flu shot
- increase fluid intake
- consume a healthy diet
- maintain a healthy weight
- wash your hands regularly
- avoid exposure to lung irritants
- regular aerobic exercise to help loosen mucus for a cough up
Maintenance of a healthy lifestyle is paramount to stave off any further lung airway impairment. Breathing efficiency is a basic component of survival, you cannot afford to half step.