Archive for the ‘Bronchiectasis’ Category
Bronchiectasis is the destruction of the bronchial tubes. This condition is either acquired or congenital and is caused by infection or inflammation of the airways. With ongoing treatment and care, people suffering from this condition can expect to live a normal life.
Bronchiectasis symptoms often start during childhood as the result of an infection’s complicaions or a genetic abnormality. Symptoms are not always immediate and can develop months, or in some cases years after the airways are damaged. Some causes blamed for the development of Bronchiectasis include inhalation of toxic substances, tuberculosis, inflamatory bowel disease, alcohol and drug abuse, multiple infections and aspiration of foreign material. This condition is also blamed on the inhalation of a foreign object in some cases. An estimated one-third of cases is caused by cystic fibrosis.
What happens anatomically to the lungs when the airways are damaged is that the smooth muscles are destroyed. These muscles are important because they provide elasticity to the bronchial tubes enabling lung tissue secretions to be cleared as a normal healthy function. When secretions pool in the bronchial tubes instead of being expelled, they create a fertile environment for bacterial growth. Ongoing infections can exacerbate the problem, utlimately causing pneumonia.
The symptoms are many. Bluish skin tone, fatique, weight loss, coughing that worsens when lying on one side, chronic coughing, shortness of breath when exercising, coughing up blood or sputnum and bad breath are all signs of bronchiectasis. While one or more of these symptoms may indicate bronchiectasis, these symptoms are also associated with other conditions. A physician should be consulted to determine the best course of action.
Treatment can lessen the impact of this condition and help sufferers lead a normal life. The goal of treatment is to eliminate airway obstructions and prevent health complications. A respiratory therapist can show patients how to cough to remove bronchial fluid to keep infections from developing. Medications can also be prescribed to treat any infections that threaten good lung health. Antibiotics and other medications are often prescribed as viable options. In the worst cases when other alternatives do not work well, surgery offers a solution to get massive bleeding under control.