Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung disease in which the airways are damaged that causes them to widen, become flabby and scarred. Airways are tubes which take the air in and out of your lungs when you breathe.
Bronchiectasis can affect one or many sections of one or both the lungs. Bronchiectasis can be caused due to congenital problems (problem present from birth) or acquired diseases (that is diseases that occur after birth). In most cases the initial lung damage that results from bronchiectasis generally starts in childhood. However, symptoms may start months or even years after you start having repeated lung infections.
Bronchiectasis is most often caused due to an infection or other condition that causes injury to the walls of the airways or prevents clearing of mucus from the airways. Whooping cough and measles are the common childhood infections which can lead to bronchiectasis. However with the use of vaccines and antibiotics the incidence of bronchiectasis due to these infections has decreased.
The airways produce mucus, a slimy substance which helps to trap inhaled dust, bacteria, and other small particles and remove them. In bronchiectasis, the mucus is not cleared adequately from the airways. This causes accumulation of mucus in the airways and creates an environment in which bacteria can grow and cause repeated, serious lung infections.
With every infection more damage occurs in the airways and after sometime the airways loses its ability to move air in and out effectively. This can affect the function of the lungs so enough oxygen does not reach your vital organs. Bronchiectasis can cause several complications some serious complications of bronchiectasis are respiratory failure, atelectasis, and heart failure.
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