What is bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis is a lung disease that occurs when the walls of the breathing tubes or airways widen due to chronic inflammation and/or infection. This results in irreversible damage to the lungs, which allows mucus to pool in the damaged airways. Infection in these breathing tubes contributes to ongoing inflammation in the airways. It may affect many areas of the lung, or it may appear in only one or two areas. Bronchiectasis is characterised by recurrent chest infections (flare-ups).
How common is bronchiectasis?
This condition can affect people of all ages, and can sometimes begin in childhood. Although the incidence is not accurately known, it is more common in women and the elderly and in certain ethnic groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
What can I expect to experience?
It’s important to know that each person may experience bronchiectasis differently. Having a regular airway clearance routine and responding early to flare-ups (exacerbations), generally helps to maintain a good outcome. Symptoms and quality of life are more likely to worsen if a person is not treated promptly, especially if they are experiencing a flare-up.
Joanne, lives with bronchiectasis.