Bronchiectasis – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Bronchiectasis – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
January 17 09:05 2017 by admin Print This Article

Bronchiectasis is a word that most people will not be familiar with, but it describes a very common medical condition – chronic coughing. While coughing may have many causes, in the case of bronchiectasis is caused by the build-up of bacteria and mucus in the bronchial tubes of the lungs. This causes frequent infections and also blockages, both of which result in chronic coughing.

The Causes

The condition is caused by injury or infection to the lungs or genetic factors. If a person has cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that results in the excessive production of mucus on the lungs, he or she is suffering from CF bronchiectasis. If CF is not a factor, the causes include:

  • Abnormal functioning of the immune system
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including a condition known as an alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Autoimmune diseases such as HIV
  • Fungus infections or allergic reactions to fungus
  • Infections of the lungs such a TB, whooping cough, etc.


The Symptoms

 Bronchiectasis is typically a condition that develops slowly, often over months or even years. The symptoms may be insignificant at first but increase in intensity over time. The common signs of bronchiectasis include:

  • Chronic coughing that will not stop
  • Coughing up blood
  • Coughing up large quantities of thick mucus. This may not happen with each cough, but the total mucus from the coughing each day is large.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing or other abnormal sounds from the chest when breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Frequently getting chest infections

If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms, consult a pulmonologist to ascertain if you have bronchiectasis.



 The best and most effective treatment for the condition is to keep the lungs clear by way of breathing and other exercises. Avoiding smoking, breathing polluted air, smoke or cooking fumes, chemical vapors, and staying ways from dusty environments will help prevent the condition’s onset. A doctor will give you advice on what you need to do. Also, tests will be carried out to determine the cause of the problem. Once this is determined, some medications may be prescribed to control infections and allergic reactions.  Possible therapies include:

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Using bronchodilators to open up the airways
  • Taking medication to thin out excessively thick mucus
  • Using expectorants to help in clearing up mucus that collects in the lungs
  • Oxygen therapy

Bronchiectasis is a very common problem for which various vaccines are available to prevent its onset. If the condition already exists, there are medications available to treat and control the disorder to live a normal life. If you suspect you have bronchiectasis, consult a pulmonologist for a diagnosis, and to begin treatment if the problem is present.

Bronchiectasis may sound like a serious medical problem, but it can be prevented with the right vaccines. If the condition does develop, some medications and therapies will allow you to live an active and productive life.

Originally published January 17, 2017, updated January 18, 2021


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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1 Comment

  1. Meena Krishnan
    December 25, 01:41 #1 Meena Krishnan

    Never thought Phlegm could mean so many things! Good video!

    Reply to this comment

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