Bronchiectasis is the abnormal widening of the bronchi i.e the branches of the lungs causing an increasing risk for infection and other allergies. It is a condition in which the bronchial tubes in the lungs damage due to the inflammation or other cause and the smooth muscles of the tubes get destroyed. In such cases, the elasticity of the bronchi is often lost. In most of the cases the condition is of genetic origin and in many cases it is considered to be a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Types of Bronchiectasis:-
Below mentioned are some of the researched types of Bronchiectasis defined by their anatomical and microscopic appearances.
- Cylindrical Bronchiectasis; It is the mildest of all which turns up with loss of normal airway tapering.
- Saccular or varicose bronchiectasis is found as the distortion of the airway wall along with extra mucous and sputum production by the human. In this type of Bronchiectasis some of the bronchi appear to be in a beaded form.
- Cystic bronchiectasis is the severe and rare condition from the category of lung disorders. In this type of condition the bronchi walls are formed with large air spaces with honeycombed appearances. In this condition the walls are usually thicker.
Risk Factors of Saccular Bronchiectasis
- People with the existing condition of cystic fibrosis
- People with alpha-1 antiproteinase deficiency or an existing embryological defect termed as immotile syndrome
- The risk factors are increased in children more prone to developing lung infections with lung tissue destruction has increased risk of Bronchiectasis in their latter life.
- Individuals experiencing recurrent lung infections and who have had a history of tuberculosis or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Those experiencing aspirate foreign bodies’ infection frequently.
- People with the habit of overconsumption of alcohol and other drugs
- People more frequently exposed to toxic gases of any of the other such substances damaging the lung tissues
Causes of Bronchiectasis
The condition is majorly observed in two types (Acquired and congenital). The causes for occurrence of both of these conditions are more or less similar in nature. Generally the health disorder is caused by damage to the walls of the bronchi; this consists of destroying the smooth muscles and the elastic tissue allowing the bronchial tubes to contract.
These secretions if does not get removed from the lungs, they normally increase the likelihood of infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. These are amongst the severe infections further causing additional damage to the bronchial walls generating the cycle for increased damage and then further increase the risk of infections. This gradually affects the lung functionality severely.
Signs and symptoms of Bronchiectasis
Recurrent cough is the most commonly seen sign and symptom of Bronchiectasis. This results in extra sputum production. In initial times, the sputum or mucous is clear but can often appear bloody if injuries to the bronchial walls occur. In different cases, the mucous may change in green or yellow color especially if the infection is present.
As the progression of the disease is observed, chronic coughing with increased mucous production resulting in person becoming weaker with fatigue and weakness. In some patients wheezing is seen on a developing way. Some of them lose weight due to increase and additional efforts in breathing.
Some of the occasional symptoms include pneumonia masked by the majority of the symptoms of Bronchiectasis. At times it becomes difficult to make a proper diagnosis of the condition in presence or existence of these additional health conditions.
How is Bronchiectasis diagnosed?
The basic step of diagnosis includes a study of entire medical and physical history of the patient. The condition is common in people with daily cough and the body following the pattern of excessive sputum formation.
Further the medical tests are carried out by sputum analysis, high resolution CT, chest X-ray and lungs test. In most of the cases, the definitive diagnosis is made with the help of CT, whereas, in some cases a chest-X-rays helps to make an entire diagnosis.
Some extra ordinary tests include checking or testing the level of alpha-1 atitrypsin, autoimmune screening test, measuring vitamin D deficiency etc are some of the commonly carried medical tests and diagnosis to be followed to find out accurate results.
What is the treatment for Bronchiectasis?
The basic thing to get in to consideration is Bronchiectasis cannot be completely cured. But can be slowly progressed towards fitness. The treatment for this condition majorly focuses on reducing and controlling the symptoms and preventing additional damages by making body stronger to infections.
The normal treatment protocols include frequently keeping up-to-date immunization, working out on the aggravating factors like cigarette smoking, addiction to alcohol and other hallucinating drugs. The basic focus of treatment is increasing good nutritional intake.
In many of the cases, the treatment is carried out with a chest physical therapy which includes rhythmic clapping on the back of the chest. This method helps loosen the sputum so it can be coughed up.
In case of infections, antibiotics serve an effective treatment. A chest physiotherapy is also carried out as a primary treatment in support to bronchodilators, corticosteroid therapy and oxygen therapy only if needed.
Most of the patients in severe cases of Bronchiectasis require hospitalization and IV medications. IN some cases, surgical therapy is carried out by making mucous plugging and foreign bodies or tumours exacerbating Bronchiectasis. The condition is mostly observed due to genetic defects and hence prevention is unfortunate. However, this can be done by reducing the incidences of rate of progression of Bronchiectasis.
Prognosis of Bronchiectasis
Generally congenital Bronchiectasis usually is seen with worst prognosis than a normal Bronchiectasis case. As far as the acquired one is concerned, it is known to show a fairly good prognosis if recognized in the early stage. The chances of getting it cured at the most preliminary stage by paying attention to the symptoms and getting an early and appropriate treatment by reducing the further complications. Overall Bronchiectasis is known to have a good prognosis.