Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
George Schiffman, MD, FCCP
Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
In this Article
- What is bronchiectasis?
- What causes bronchiectasis?
- What are the symptoms of bronchiectasis?
- When should you seek medical care for bronchiectasis?
- How is bronchiectasis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for bronchiectasis?
- What are the complications of bronchiectasis?
- What is the prognosis for bronchiectasis?
- Bronchiectasis At A Glance
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What are the symptoms of bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis develops over a prolonged period of time.
Common symptoms include recurrent cough and sputum production. Usually the mucus is clear, but it may be bloody due to bronchial wall injury or green or yellow if infection is present. Shortness of breath and fatigue develop as lung function decreases. Wheezing may or may not be present.
If the disease progresses or if it is poorly controlled, the amount of work required to breathe increases and weight loss and diminished quality of life may occur.
Bronchiectasis may occur due to another underlying disease. Symptoms of that primary disease may also be present. For example, a patient with tuberculosis may have bloody sputum, fever, chills, and night sweats. A person with Crohn's disease may have abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Congenital bronchiectasis often becomes apparent because of recurrent pneumonia.
When should you seek medical care for bronchiectasis?
Any person with unexplained shortness of breath or chronic cough should seek medical care. Depending upon its severity and the situation, activating the emergency medical response system (call 911) may be appropriate.
Usually, people who develop bronchiectasis do so over a prolonged period of time. They seek medical care because of chronic cough, a progressive increase in sputum production, and/or, shortness of breath at rest or exercise. Recurrent pneumonia is also a reason that people may seek care. The symptoms of pneumonia include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Bronchiectasis may cause hemoptysis (coughing up blood). This is never normal, and medical attention is needed if hemoptysis occurs. Other reasons for coughing up blood include pneumonia, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the vessels of the lung), and lung tumors.
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