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Howitt,

Here is a blurb about bronchiectasis:


Bronchiectasis
Bronchiectasis (pronounced bron-kee-ek'-tas-is) is a disorder of the airways within the lungs. Inflammation and infections cause damage to the airways with alteration in the lining layer of the airways. The airways become distorted and enlarged. Enlargement can be uniform or irregular. Mucus can collect in the airways and is difficult to clear because of the damage to the normal ways the airways clear the mucus. This can lead to episodes of infection. Early diagnosis and treatment of bronchiectasis and the infections that occur are very important. You may be born with bronchiectasis, or you may acquire it as an adult or child through one or more of the following ways:

Inadvertent inhalation of oral or stomach material into your lungs, causing chronic airway inflammation. Severe gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn) which occurs when the valve or sphincter connecting your esophagus and stomach is too relaxed; may allow a backward flow of stomach contents to enter your lungs and irritate the airways. Impaired ability to swallow may also cause saliva or food to enter the lungs.
Having another chronic lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis, allergic aspergillosis, tuberculosis, other mycobacteria diseases such as MAI, whooping cough (pertussis), or an immune deficiency disease or severe or repeated episodes pneumonia.
Disorders that affect the function of the cilia (small hairs that line the airways).
Obstruction in your airways because of a growth or tumor.
Kartagener's Syndrome, a rare inherited disease that combines bronchiectasis, loss of ability to clear mucus and chronic sinusitis.



Development of Bronchiectasis
First, inflammation to the walls of the airway occurs from any mechanism (listed in the previous section). The inflammation causes injury to the airways. The resulting loss of the normal defenses of the respiratory tract leads to the loss of ability to clear mucus, making the airways susceptible to infections. Repeated lung infections can cause worsening of the damage to the airway walls.



What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of bronchiectasis include a cough with raising mucus from the lungs. With infections the mucus may be discolored and foul smelling, sometimes containing blood. Fatigue, weight loss, shortness of breath and abnormal chest sounds can occur. Occasionally people with bronchiectasis also have chronic sinusitis that requires further evaluation since bronchiectasis and sinusitis may be due to other diseases. If bronchiectasis is not treated, you may experience increasing shortness of breath, rounding at the tips of the fingers (clubbing) from chronic lung infection and possibly [B]heart failure[/B].

It is not hereditary but is caused by repeated lung infections. My mother and her brother both died as a reult of the heart failure associated with the disease. In her last few years, she couldn't even register on the spirometer.

I appreciate the prayers and I'll try to remember you in mine tonight as well.

thanks
madsci





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