Our Services / Bronchiectasis

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About Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung condition causing coughing that brings up a lot of mucus. If you have a persistent cough, don’t wait to seek an evaluation from Joy Burbeck, MD, and the team at Midsouth Independent Group (MIG) in Memphis, Tennessee. Bronchiectasis doesn’t heal and disappear. You need expert medical management that eases your symptoms and helps keep the disease in remission. Call the office or connect online to request an appointment right away.

Bronchiectasis Q & A

What is bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis develops when the airways in your lungs become damaged. The damage makes the airways widen or develop pouches. Both changes allow mucus to collect in the airway, resulting in lung infections. New infections cause inflammation that causes additional airway damage.

You may have bronchiectasis in one small area or in multiple airways. Unfortunately, this condition causes permanent damage. However, your disease can be managed and controlled with treatment from the experienced pulmonary specialists at MIG. 

What causes bronchiectasis?

The airway damage responsible for bronchiectasis often arises from infections and inflammatory conditions, such as:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Severe pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Fungal infections
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Immunodeficiency disorders
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (fungal allergy)

Of the possible causes, cystic fibrosis is responsible for nearly half of all cases of bronchiectasis.

What are the symptoms of bronchiectasis?

Most people go through periods of remission (when their symptoms improve) alternating with symptom flare-ups. During a flare, bronchiectasis causes the following symptoms:

  • Cough that brings up mucus
  • Recurrent lung infections
  • Blood in your mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent colds
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Clubbing

Clubbing is a sign that may develop in your fingernails and toenails. The end of one or more fingers or toes enlarges, making the nails curve downward.

How is bronchiectasis diagnosed?

After reviewing your medical history and listening to your lungs, your provider may run bloodwork and perform lung function testing. They also order X-rays or a CT scan to see signs of problems in your lungs.

How is bronchiectasis treated?

Your treatment focuses on dealing with any underlying conditions contributing to bronchiectasis, eliminating mucus from your lungs, and preventing complications.

Medications form the foundation of your treatment. Your MIG provider may prescribe one or more of the following:

  • Antibiotics (if you have an active bacterial infection)
  • Inhaled steroids (to reduce lung inflammation)
  • Bronchodilators (to widen your airways)
  • Mucus-thinning medications (to make it easier to cough up mucus)
  • Expectorants (to make you cough)

You may also need chest physical therapy, a specialized treatment that helps loosen mucus so you can get it out of your lungs. It’s also essential to drink enough water to prevent mucus from getting too thick.

If you have a cough or other signs of bronchiectasis, don’t wait to seek help. Call Midsouth Independent Group or request an appointment online today.