According to the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), October 21-27, 2018, marks the celebration of Respiratory Care Week. In honor of this event, respiratory therapists from all over the world are working together to increase awareness on how patients and clinicians can improve lung function.
An essential part of respiratory care awareness is sharing information on lesser-known chronic lung conditions, such as bronchiectasis, and how doctors can diagnose and treat its symptoms. Bronchiectasis affects an estimated 4.2 million people in the United States, but because it remains an underdeveloped area of study, patients may be experiencing its symptoms and remain unaware that they have the disease.1
Common bronchiectasis symptoms include:
- Chronic cough that produces mucus
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Breathlessness and wheezing
- General fatigue
If left untreated, bronchiectasis can severely damage the airways, reducing your ability to clear the lungs of mucus and fight infections. If you’re experiencing a combination of these symptoms, your next question should be: how can I get tested for bronchiectasis?
A high resolution CT scan is the best way to confirm a bronchiectasis diagnosis.
In addition to a high resolution CT scan, clinicians may also decide to perform a lung function test to measure the efficiency of the lungs. Another test is referred to as a bronchoscopy, which involves the use of a flexible tube being placed down the patient’s lungs to capture images of the airways.2
Getting tested for bronchiectasis is essential to improving lung function and finding the best airway clearance treatment to manage its symptoms. In anticipation of Respiratory Care Week, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get tested.
To learn more about bronchiectasis, browse through our patient resources page for easy access to brochures you can download and bring to your upcoming doctor’s visit. You can also learn more about the SmartVest Airway Clearance System, a high frequency chest wall oscillation therapy vest that’s clinically proven to help patients manage their bronchiectasis symptoms and find relief.
- Weycker D, Hansen G, Seifer F. Prevalence and incidence of noncystic fibrosis bronchiectasis among US adults in 2013. Chronic Respiratory Disease. 2017; 14(4):377-84.
- 6 tests needed for diagnosing bronchiectasis (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bronchiectasisnewstoday.com/2017/02/23/six-tests-needed-for-diagnosing-bronchiectasis/