27 November 2023
27 November 2023
Can you imagine being plagued by a loud, mucusy cough for months, if not years on end? What about being perpetually breathless, with the threat of lung infections looming constantly over your head? Unfortunately, this is the reality for people living with bronchiectasis, a chronic lung condition where the bronchi are irreversibly damaged and can lead to recurrent chest infections.
Though there is currently no cure for bronchiectasis, researchers are working hard to uncover more about this condition and develop potentially life-changing therapies. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of bronchiectasis and discuss a new clinical trial that could advance bronchiectasis care and ensure a brighter future for everyone affected by this condition.
Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung condition that occurs when the bronchi, the tubes that connect the lungs to the windpipe, are abnormally and irreversibly widened - usually due to long-term inflammation and/or infection. In a vicious cycle, this irreversible damage allows mucus to pool in the airways, subsequently leading to ongoing infections and inflammation.
There are several conditions that can cause bronchiectasis, including:
These conditions can damage the airways and prevent them from clearing mucus, a naturally occurring substance that traps dust and other small irritants and helps the body expel them through coughing. This build-up of mucus can subsequently become infected and lead to recurrent chest infections.
Though the prevalence of bronchiectasis is not accurately known, it has a high prevalence among Indigenous communities, females, and the elderly (according to the Bronchiectasis Toolbox).
The most common symptom of bronchiectasis is a chronic cough with sputum - a mixture of saliva and mucus. Other symptoms can include:
As bronchiectasis shares symptoms with several other lung diseases, it is important to visit your GP for a formal diagnosis, which may include:
Currently, there is no cure for bronchiectasis, so early treatment is vital for controlling infections, improving how you feel, and preventing further lung damage. Some treatment options include:
People with bronchiectasis can also self-manage their symptoms without the need for specific medications, including:
As you can see, bronchiectasis presents unique challenges when it comes to treatment options, in that patients must work closely with their healthcare team and follow an elaborate regimen of medication, rehabilitation, and self-care techniques to manage their symptoms.
As such, clinical trials provide an exciting avenue to improve our understanding of bronchiectasis, its causes, and to ultimately find more effective treatment options. At time of writing, we are currently recruiting for a clinical trial investigating a potential new treatment for bronchiectasis.
By participating in this clinical trial, you could not only change the course of your own healthcare journey, but also contribute to potentially ground-breaking therapies that empower the bronchiectasis community.
To find out more about this study, and other respiratory studies for which we are currently recruiting, visit our website.