What causes bronchiectasis?

The most common known cause of bronchiectasis is having previous infections that damage the airways such as pneumonia, whooping cough or tuberculosis, particularly in childhood. However, in many cases, the cause is unknown. Some conditions that have been linked to bronchiectasis include:

  • Pre-existing lung conditions such as severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma associated with allergy to the fungus Aspergillus.
  • Immune deficiencies.
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases that affect connective tissues such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Disorders that affect mucus clearance from airways.
I kept on coughing up blood on and off until I saw my general practitioner (GP). He thought the bronchitis has damaged my throat lining. I continued to have trouble with coughing up blood so I changed doctors. This doctor was concerned and he sent me off for an x-ray and a bronchoscopy, but neither showed us anything. Finally, an open lung biopsy and CT scan showed that I had a few white spots on one lung.
Ingrid, lives with bronchiectasis.
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