In a previous blog post, we highlighted the basic differences between bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is important to know in order to find the best treatment option to manage symptoms. Bronchiectasis, an irreversible lung disease, develops from repeated inflammation and/or infection, and prevents your lungs from properly functioning. COPD, an umbrella term used for diagnosing other chronic pulmonary diseases—such as emphysema or asthma—is typically developed later in life after years of smoking, or exposure to outdoor air pollutants, dust particles, or toxic chemicals. COPD may also result from a genetic deficiency of the protein Alpha-1 Antitrypsin in a person’s bloodstream.1
Bronchiectasis can imitate common COPD symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, potential for daily sputum production, and repeat pneumonias. Although both conditions occur separately from one another, COPD can be a catalyst for bronchiectasis-related symptoms, if not treated properly.2
If you’re a patient living with COPD, understanding the differences and similarities between these two pulmonary diseases will help you find the best treatments to manage your symptoms and slow disease progression.
About COPD and Bronchiectasis
According to the COPD Foundation, more than 30 million Americans are living with COPD today. Individuals living with bronchiectasis are included in that statistic as well. COPD is typically categorized by frequent cough—which can be either dry or wet—wheezing, shortness of breath, and trouble breathing, all of which are common signs of bronchiectasis. In fact, chronic bronchitis, another pulmonary disease categorized under the umbrella of COPD, occurs when a patient’s cilia becomes permanently damaged due to bronchi inflammation, making it difficult to remove excess mucus from the lungs and prevent infection.3 And with each recurrent infection, or COPD flare up, a patient is more susceptible to repeated lung damage that can result in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.4
Can COPD Be Cured?
As with bronchiectasis, there is no known cure for COPD. The condition is irreversible, and if left untreated, can lead to serious long-term disability and early death.5 However, with the right therapy approach, COPD patients can reduce the onset of infection, breathe easier, and live happier.
Treatment Options for Chronic Lung Conditions
Each individual will experience symptoms differently, and it’s important to talk with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you and your diagnosis. Treatment may include medications to reduce inflammation and flare ups with the addition of an airway clearance device to help improve your lung function.
High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy via the SmartVest Airway Clearance System offers an advanced airway clearance solution that delivers pulses of air through a wearable vest to help loosen, thin, and propel mucus through the airways where it can be more easily coughed out. Available for patients of all ages, SmartVest has helped many people discover an effective, individual approach to treating their symptoms, and most importantly, getting back to spending time with loved ones and doing the activities they love most.
Georgia uses SmartVest to manage her COPD symptoms and soon felt a big difference in her daily life. “When I got the device, things changed. I breathe better, walk better, sweep the floor, do dishes — the things you can’t do if you don’t move that mucus out of there.”
See what other SmartVest users have to say about managing their COPD or bronchiectasis symptoms:
“I can breathe a lot easier and can do things I haven’t been able to for five years. I get around a lot better without having to stop and catch my breath.” -Janet
“I’ve been using SmartVest now for about seven months and my COPD episodes are fewer and less frequent. I guess you can say it’s working! I would recommend it to anyone with any lung issues.” -Josephine
“Since using SmartVest, I haven’t been in the hospital at all. It’s a miracle.” -Sheila
“Before I got SmartVest, I just didn’t think I had much life left. I’m afraid not to use it!” -Patricia
Discover how SmartVest Airway Clearance can help clear the airways of those living with bronchiectasis or other impaired breathing conditions. Visit SmartVest.com to learn more!