Bronchiectasis and Asthma at 22

Afternoon all,

My names Emma and i'm new to this site, i'm 22 and i've recently been diagnosed with Bronchiectasis. I was diagnosed with asthma two years ago and my breathing and constant chest infections very quickly got worse and more frequent, aswell as being admitted to hospital. Eventually i was given medication, physio and was seen every 4-6months by the chest clinic, nothing helped :( I get a chest infection at least twice a month which affects me to the point im out of breath just going to the toilet. Id love to speak to others in a similar situation, i just feel like my life is stopping now and this is going to be it.


7 Replies

  • Hi I've got same as you but at 55 I'm quite a bit older than you!

    I had asthma diagnosed about 10 years ago and Bronchiectasis for the last 4-5 years. I take loads of vitamins to ward off any potential threats, and the consultant has put me on an antibiotic cover -clarithromycin one a day which seems to help quite a bit. Trouble is now I've got Diabetes which muddy's the waters a bit, apparently your recovery rate can be longer from an infection so prevention is definitely better than the cure in my case.

    I still manage to do things- I've got 7 grandchildren and they come over from time to time for dinner etc. I find I'm more tired and have to plan the day - plan for rest times can still achieve things if you put your mind to it.

    I took up singing its quite good for breath control I find.

    You need to get on top of the illness as best as you can, keep a diary if you don't know the triggers.

    You have all your life ahead of you - just needs a bit of working out before hand -anything's possible.

    Don't give up just yet!!

    Take care

    Sue x

  • Hi Emma and welcome

    Sue is right "don't give up just yet" In fact don't give up at all - your life is not stopping.

    Firstly, it's very important you get the right respiratory consultant, preferably one with a special interest in cystic fibrosis/bronchiectasis. Check out your consultant on your hospital website or Dr. Foster. It can make the world of difference.

    Secondly glad to hear you have been taught physio, as this is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Just wondering if physio has shown you gadgets such as the flutter (which you can now get on prescription from gp) or the acapella.

    When you say you were given medication I am wondering what type of medication. Lots of bronchiectatics have a variety of meds.

    Obviously antibiotics for the treatment of infections. However many also have prophilactic antibiotics - quite often Azithromycin either 1 3times a week or 1 a day - these help in 2 ways - they dampen down inflammation and break down biofilms around certain bugs, or as with Sue Clarithromycin Unfortunately I can't tolerate either but I know lots of bronchs who find them of great benefit.

    I assume you are taking some form in inhalers, having bronch and asthma. Many of us nebulise saline 0.9% or hypertonic saline which uses osmosis to draw water into the lungs and helps to loosen up the gunk. Some bronchs take mucus thinners. If you haven't been offered these you may want to ask your consultant if he/she think they may be of benefit to you. I nebulise bronchodilator followed by usually hypertonic about 20 minutes before doing physio. I also use a steroid inhaler once a day for my asthma.

    I also assume you have antibiotics at home in case you become ill over a weekend or holiday period, and that if possible you get a sample of mucus into the GP to check what you are growing and what it is sensitive to.

    Please Emma use the time before your next appointment to learn all you can and have all your questions down you wish to ask - do it in bullet points though or you will miss stuff. In the meantime if there is anything you're not sure of or questions you have please don't hesitate to ask - someone will be along to answer you - that's what we are all here for to support one another and the only silly question is the one you don't ask.

    Lots to take in and you must be quite overwhelmed, but Emma once you get more facts, the right care and support you will manage your bronch well. I've had bronch since I was a baby, so I haven't known anything else really. More recently I have been dx with asthma and inflammatory arthritis etc. but i am a lot older than you. Things have moved on in tests and treatment and there will be many more improvements in your lifetime.

    Good luck Emma

    love cx

  • Good luck Emma, lots of caring advice above. I don't have your health issues but others do. They will always be helpful. Hope you start to feel on top of things soon. :-) :-) Alson

  • Hi Emma.

    I was diagnosed with asthma at age 50. then at 56 they said I had bronchiectasis and scarred lungs.

    I have always been a fit outdoor worker never visited a doctor unless I was floored but, according to the lung specialist I must have at some point, had pneumonia which was never treated and that, started off bronchiectasis in later life.

    The only time it really starts to get bad is when there is a change in the weather warm to v cold.

    What helps me! a healthy diet and regular exercise.

    Be aware of when the cold is starting to affect you and wrap up well and, if you feel you are starting a lung problem, be quick to put in a sample and get an appointment for antibiotics.

    Don't let anyone or anything get you down.

    I am 62 now and although I do get breathless, I am still very active and coping with all that the world throws at me.

    You will find at your age, there will be nothing you wont be able to do as long as you accept and manage your health and seek help as quickly as possible.

    Life is good, and you have a long happy life in front of you. ENJOY IT and live it to its fullest.

    The oldest ( or nearly ) swinger in town.


  • Hi Emma, I am 42 and like you have chest Infections every few weeks (bronchiecstatis also) it started after I had my second baby so only 30. I had terrible asthma, felt ill all the time, hospitalised for Phumonia, it was a terrible time.

    My consultant it specialist in Cystic Fybrosis and although I don't have that she has not yet given up on me 12 years on.

    One thing which improved my symptom amazingly was taking wheat, Gluten and dairy from my diet , I still have chest infections every few weeks but the times in between my asthma is under control and I lead a normal life.

    If you have IBS you must get tested for Coeliac before you try an elimination diet though. otherwise you might miss out on an important diagnosis.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel - some of us find it harder to get there that's all.


  • Cofdrop has put it very well.

    Don't give up Emma, many of us have had the same emotions so understand your despair. You are young with a wonderful life ahead of you once you get some control of the ailments.

    Knowledge and understanding are the keys to controlling it then you can rebuild your immune system to help fight further infection.

    Eat a very healthy diet, drink lots of fluids to keep mucus softer & easier to expel.

    Avoid caffeine (ie coke, tea, coffee) there are very good decaf teas & coffees about.

    Stop smoking if you do (that's top of the list really).

    Please, please, please talk to the BLF helpline 03000 555030, it's just the cost of a local call. They will call you back too. I think this will be invaluable for you.

    I take Vits D3, C and a good multivitamin & minerals to help get my immune system back on track. Also Manuka 15+ Honey, expensive but you only need a coffee spoon a day or a bit more to fight infection (look at reviews on Amazon for explanations).

    A course: PR, pulmonary rehab, will be very beneficial to you from NHS. Get a referral from either your GP, respiratory nurse or cons. You will learn much on one.

    I wish you all the very best and I'm so glad you found this site because today is the first day of the rest of your life xxx

  • Excellent advice all the above ! I've been on nebuliser since 23 aprox ( forget ) I'm 47 plus now and asthma / bronchiectasis ,so Emma I advise you to look after yourself and be posative and luve your life as such , do NOT SMOKE as this would cause you further distress ! People presume with copd that everyone has smoked , look after yourself now as this is what matters x knew brave

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