Bronchiectasis Treatment Options: What’s Available and How It Works
Not as common as other chronic lung diseases, bronchiectasis is a chronic disease that causes severe damage to the airways. It is categorized as an obstructive lung disease. Other forms of obstructive lung disease include COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Even though bronchiectasis is not a common disease, we recognize that it affects the lives of so many people. Therefore, we are here to help you understand your bronchiectasis treatment options and how they work.
What is Bronchiectasis?
It’s a common knowledge that smoking is the major cause of most chronic lung diseases. However, unlike COPD and other types of Chronic Lung Diseases, Bronchiectasis can develop even when a person has never smoked before. In fact, it causes is usually associated with smoking.
Bronchiectasis is usually of two types: congenital and non-congenital. People with the congenital form generally develop the disease through the birth defect. Examples of congenital bronchiectasis include primary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis.
The non-congenital bronchiectasis, on the other hand, is developed after birth and is not a result of a birth defect. Typically, it occurs because of an injury to the airways or another disease, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia or influenza.
What are the Symptoms of Bronchiectasis?
Just like COPD, the symptoms of Bronchiectasis can take month or years to develop. The common symptoms associated with this disease include:
- Chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Coughing up blood
- Coughing up large amounts of mucus every day
If any of these symptoms are noticed, you should contact your doctor immediately. Doing this early helps to know the best treatment plan on time.
What are the available treatment options?
While there isn’t a cure for bronchiectasis, there are bronchiectasis treatment options to help you manage your condition. Often, the major goal of these treatment options is to manage the disease and prevent further damage like infections, blockages and keep mucus production under control.
The major treatment options available is the use of bronchodilators which helps to relax and open the airways. This helps people breathe better. Antibiotics can also help people with an infection, and mucus thinners may help people thin mucus. When mucus is thinner, it is easier to clear from the lungs.
Other forms of treatment available include:
- Breathing exercises and chest physiotherapy
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Mucus thinning medications
- Oxygen therapy
- Stem cell therapy
In addition to these options, stem cell therapy has been proven to promote healing within the lungs. Most patients who receive this therapy returned to their normal activities.