Bronchiectasis develops due to abnormal widening of the airways triggered by inflammation and infection. Once the airways are dilated, mucus accumulates which causes airway obstruction and eventually the buildup of bacteria. As the mucus and bacteria accumulates, it results to repeated cycles of infection, inflammation and airway obstruction.
The objective of management is to control the lung infections, encourage drainage of excessive secretions and prevention of complications. Essentially, the chances for the development of bronchiectasis reduces as long as prompt treatment of lung infections has been initiated.
Commonly used treatment measures for bronchiectasis
Antibiotics are widely used to treat lung infections linked with bronchiectasis. These are given orally or intravenously. The entire course of antibiotics must be taken even if the individual starts to feel better.
Bronchodilators are commonly used in managing bronchiectasis. These medications work by relaxing and dilating the airways, thus making it easier to breathe.
Expectorants are used to loosen up the mucus which makes it easier for the individual to expel them from the airways via coughing.
Avoidance of respiratory irritants
Always bear in mind that respiratory irritants can worsen the symptoms of bronchiectasis. The individual should quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and air pollution to help prevent the condition.
Yearly flu shot
Flu shots not only help prevent the flu, but also avoid the worsening of the condition. A doctor should be consulted regarding the flu shot.
It is important to note that postural drainage is an airway clearing method that utilizes gravity to allow the seepage of mucus from certain regions of the lungs. Postural drainage can be utilized with other types of chest physiotherapy to promote loosening of the secretions so that they can be ejected from the airways in an easier manner.
Percussion and vibration
Together with postural drainage, percussion and vibration are used to further mobilize and loosen up the secretions which makes it easier for them to be expelled from the airways. This technique can be carried out using your hands or with a manual percussive device.
Surgical lung resection
In cases in which the condition of the individual does not respond properly to treatment and if bronchiectasis is limited to a specific area of the lungs, surgical removal of a part of the lung might be considered as an option. It is vital to bear in mind that surgical resection of the lung is not suitable in all cases. A doctor should be consulted for more information regarding this treatment measure.