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Bronchiectasis: What Causes Permanent Airway Dilation In the Lungs?

Bronchiectasis: What Causes Permanent Airway Dilation In the Lungs?
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Bronchiectasis

chronic bronchitis


Brochiectasis refers to the permanent dilation of the airways in the lungs. It can result in a chronic, persistent cough as well as other respiratory difficulties. Brochiectasis is most often the result of a severe respiratory infection or an underlying condition. It is fairly common, affecting over 200,000 patients every year in the U.S. alone.

Causes

Bronchiectasis is usually the result of another underlying illness or condition including the following:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Impaired immune system
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • HIV
  • Allergic aspergillosis
  • Lung infections
  • Whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

bronchiectasis

Types

Acquired Bronchiectasis

This type of bronchiectasis is caused by an underlying condition or illness that has dilated the airways of the lungs.

Congenital Bronchiectasis

This type of bronchiectasis refers to a permanent dilation of the airways that develops in the womb, typically caused by disorders affecting cilia motility.

Symptoms

  • Chronic cough
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Thickening of the skin under nails
  • Frequent respiratory infections

bronchiectasis

Diagnosis

A general practitioner can diagnose bronchiectasis based on a physical examination and your medical history. In most cases, diagnostic imaging of the lungs will be required to confirm the diagnosis. Other tests may be performed to rule out certain underlying causes. Once confirmed, the patient is typically referred to a pulmonologist for ongoing treatment.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for bronchiectasis. Treatment focuses on the management of symptoms and preventing any further complications. An important aspect of treatment is managing chronic infections and relieving airway obstructions. In severe cases, surgical removal of affected portions of the lung to prevent further complications.

 

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