Most people with bronchiectasis have a persistent or chronic cough because extra mucus is being produced.
Healthy lungs produce mucus /phlegm to clear the airways of dust or germs we have breathed in. Tiny sweeper hairs called cilia work constantly to sweep the mucus up the airways. This is how our lungs keep clean and free of infection.
In bronchiectasis, these normal mechanisms have been damaged or destroyed. The sweeper hairs are unable to work properly in the damaged areas, mucus builds up and it becomes a possible site of infection.
As the lungs become further damaged the airways leading to the air sacs become widened and damaged and more mucus is produced worsening the cycle.
Bronchiectasis is a chronic (long term) condition and requires lifelong treatment. The good news is that for the majority of people, with good management you will remain stable for many years.
Physiotherapy treatment involves showing you how to clear your secretions effectively to reduce coughing and chest infections, improving breathing pattern and advice around exercise and other self management techniques.
Everyone with a diagnosis of bronchiectasis should see a respiratory physiotherapist and if using clearance techniques these are recommended to be reviewed 6 monthly.