Bronchiectasis

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Bronchiectasis is a condition in which damage to the airways causes them to thicken, widen, loose their elasticity and become scarred.  Bronchiectasis usually is the result of an infection or other condition that injures the walls of the airways or prevents the airways from clearing mucus. In bronchiectasis, the airways slowly lose their ability to clear out mucus.  When mucus can't be cleared, it builds up and creates an environment in which bacteria can grow. This perpetuates the cycle of infections which in turn create more lung damage.  Over time, the airways lose their ability to move air in and out. This can prevent enough oxygen from reaching vital organs.

Bronchiectasis can be present in one section of the lung or throughout both lungs.

There are two types of bronchiectasis:  congenital or acquired. Congenital bronchiectasis affects infants and children.  It's the result of a problem with how the lungs form in a fetus.  Acquired bronchiectasis occurs as a result of another condition or factor. This type of bronchiectasis can affect adults and older children.  Acquired bronchiectasis is more common than the congenital type.

There is no cure for bronchiectasis. (1)

Bronchiectasis is typically broken down into two groups:  Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and non CF bronchiectasis.  That makes the non CF bronchiectasis group heterogeneous or quite diverse.  This group contains both congenital and acquired bronchiectasis.

Non CF bronchiectasis increases with age. Fewer than 1 out of 20,000 people age 18 to 34 have the disease but that rises to about one in 350 people by age 75. A 2005 study estimated that 110,000 persons in the United States received treatment for bronchiectasis.(2)

Sources:
(1) NIH

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