Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung disease which can progress if not treated appropriately. The aim of treatment for bronchiectasis is to:
- Treat any underlying conditions (such as infection, inhaled object) which is causing or aggravating lung injury.
- Help remove the excess and accumulated mucus from the lungs.
- Prevent further deterioration and complications.
How to Treat Bronchiectasis
Treatment of bronchiectasis includes medications, hydration, chest physical therapy (CPT), oxygen therapy and surgery. Read to know more on treatment of bronchiectasis.
- Bronchodilator Medications: Bronchodilator medications can be inhaled as aerosol sprays or taken orally. These medications help to open your airways by relaxing the muscles around them and relieve symptoms of bronchiectasis. Inhaled bronchodilators are more effective in relieving symptoms as the medicine goes directly to your lungs. You may be recommended to take a bronchodilator right before you do CPT.
- Steroids: These may be inhaled as an aerosol spray, or taken orally. The steroids are helpful to relieve symptoms but prolonged or high dosage of steroids can cause side effects such as weakening of bones, increase in blood pressure, diabetes and cataracts.
- Antibiotics: People with bronchiectasis develop repeated lung infections for which antibiotics may be needed. In most cases, oral antibiotics are used to treat the infections but for serious or hard-to-treat infections, antibiotics through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into your arm may be administered.
- Mucus Thinners and Expectorants: Many people with bronchiectasis are recommended medicines such as expectorants and mucus thinners. These medications help loosen and clear mucus from lungs.
- Chest physical therapy: If you have bronchiectasis you should clear the mucus from your lungs on a daily basis. This may be done with chest physical therapy (CPT) or with mechanical devices that stimulate mucus clearance. During CPT the therapist will vigorously clap on the back and chest to dislodge mucus from the lungs.
- Oxygen therapy: People with severe bronchiectasis who have low levels of oxygen in their blood may be recommended oxygen therapy. This can help raise low blood oxygen levels and the treatment can be given at home or in a hospital or other health facility.
- Surgery: If only a part of your lung is affected your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the diseased segment of the lung.
- Lung Transplant: People with severe disease which cannot be controlled with medications and other treatment may be recommended lung transplantation.
Lung function in bronchiectasis deteriorates slowly if not treated appropriately. Remember that early diagnosis and appropriate early treatment decrease the risk of further damage to your lungs.
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