Overview

Bronchiectasis

Being told you or someone you love has bronchiectasis can be a very overwhelming and frightening experience. The medical information you receive may be confusing and difficult to understand at times. It is important to remember that you are not alone and there are things you can do to help manage the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

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).

Australasian Bronchiectasis Registry
Lung Foundation Australia works to improve outcomes for children and adults living with bronchiectasis by investigating the cause, treatments and quality of care through the Australian Bronchiectasis Registry (ABR). The Registry, which has now reached 1,000 participants, collects data on people living with bronchiectasis to facilitate research and improve clinical management practices. By getting

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.

Bronchiectasis is a lifelong medical condition, but by staying informed and doing everything I can to understand the nature of it, I can live well with my condition. I continue to find ways to support myself and understand the care that is needed to stay healthy.

Joanne, lives with bronchiectasis.