3 Signs of Bronchiectasis for Those Living with COPD

Signs of Bronchiectasis, COPD and Bronchiectasis,According to a 2018 article in Bronchiectasis News Today, approximately half of newly diagnosed bronchiectasis patients also have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).1 This statistic is likely to grow if bronchiectasis—an underdeveloped area of study—continues to go under-diagnosed in its early stages.

Referred to as bronchiectasis-COPD overlap syndrome (BCOS),2 this type of comorbidity will affect each patient differently. However, recent evidence suggests that bronchiectasis patients, who also have COPD, may be at a higher risk of mortality than if they were living with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis alone.3

Because both bronchiectasis and COPD are irreversible chronic lung diseases, early detection and treatment is essential to slowing progression.

 

A problem with diagnosing bronchiectasis in COPD patients, however, may be due to their similarities (i.e. chronic cough, shortness of breath, respiratory infections, etc.). Consequently, clinicians may not fully recognize early symptoms of BCOS.

 

3 Early Signs of Bronchiectasis for COPD Patients

In Electromed’s video series, “Ask a Pulmonologist,” Dr. Federick Seifer addresses three important signs of bronchiectasis in COPD patients:

Signs of Bronchiectasis, COPD and Bronchiectasis,1.) Repeated Lower Respiratory Infections:

Recurring respiratory infections are a common characteristic of bronchiectasis. Such infections can damage the lungs and cause them to become abnormally widened, making it difficult for patients to clear mucus and help fight infection. According to Bronchiectasis News Today, COPD patients may experience acute respiratory flare ups and other respiratory issues with bronchiectasis.

If you’re experiencing recurring respiratory infections, contact your clinician to request a HRCT scan to test for bronchiectasis.4

 

Signs of Bronchiectasis, COPD and Bronchiectasis,

2.) Green/Yellow Sputum Production:

Another common characteristic of bronchiectasis is coughing up green or yellow sputum.5 If your sputum production is green or yellow for a period of time, it may be a sign to reevaluate your COPD condition.

 

3.) Multiple Courses of Antibiotics:

Signs of Bronchiectasis, COPD and Bronchiectasis,

COPD is characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough. These symptoms may cause the airways to become inflamed, thereby impairing healthy airflow.6 When this happens, patients may begin to experience respiratory infections and require antibiotics. Treating respiratory infections with antibiotics may not be an immediate sign of bronchiectasis, but if a patient’s history is revealing multiple courses of antibiotics over an extended period of time, this may indicate a more severe condition.

 

How to Treat COPD and Bronchiectasis

Whether you’re living with COPD, bronchiectasis, or a combination of both chronic lung conditions, your ability to breathe can become impaired and lead to recurring infections that further damage your lungs. This cycle can force you to spend more time in the hospital and less time in the comfort of your own home with friends and family.

Though each condition has its differences, high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy via the SmartVest Airway Clearance System works the same to clear your airways to help you manage symptoms and reduce flare ups after long-term use.

If you’re living with COPD and you’d like to find out more about its similarities to bronchiectasis, browse our SmartVest blog for more resources and information to share with your clinician.

 

Request a SmartVest Patient Packet

To learn more about SmartVest and how it can help relieve bronchiectasis-related symptoms, fill out an online form to request a SmartVest informational packet that will be mailed directly to your home so you can easily share with your doctor at your next visit.

Signs of Bronchiectasis, COPD and Bronchiectasis,

 


  1. Bronchiectasis News Today. “Half of Bronchiectasis Patients in U.S. Also Have COPD, Large Study Shows.” Retrieved from https://bronchiectasisnewstoday.com/2018/08/30/half-bronchiectasis-patients-also-have-copd-large-study/
  2. Bronchiectasis News Today. “Bronchiectasis in COPD Patients Carries Higher Risk of Acute Flares and Other Respiratory Problems, Study Shows.” Retrieved from https://bronchiectasisnewstoday.com/2018/05/31/bronchiectasis-linked-to-higher-risk-of-acute-respiratory-problems-in-copd-patients-in-study/
  3. Bronchiectasis News Today. “ Mortality Higher in Bronchiectasis Patients Who Also Have COPD.” Retreived from https://bronchiectasisnewstoday.com/2017/06/06/mortality-higher-bronchiectasis-patients-copd/
  4. Bronchiectasis News Today. “Bronchiectasis in COPD Patients Carries Higher Risk of Acute Flares and Other Respiratory Problems, Study Shows.” Retrieved from https://bronchiectasisnewstoday.com/2018/05/31/bronchiectasis-linked-to-higher-risk-of-acute-respiratory-problems-in-copd-patients-in-study/
  5. American Lung Association. “Bronchectasis Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/bronchiectasis/symptoms-causes-risk-factors.html
  6. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “COPD.” Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd
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