Bronchiectasis and COPD: Hi. I'm... - British Lung Foun...

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Bronchiectasis and COPD

frankie767 profile image

Hi. I'm confused! My husband was diagnosed with COPD a year ago. Since then he has had a CT scan which showed bronchiectasis. One doctor we've seen says maybe never had COPD that the problem was always the bronchiectasis. We are waiting to see specialist but don't know yet when that will be. Is bronchiectasis part of COPD or different? We are also currently trying to get him travel insurance and if I put bronchiectasis and COPD and how many chest infections the cost is sky high and as we are still waiting for specialist appointment cannot answer some of online questions. Can anybody help please.

28 Replies

Bronchiectasis is not part of COPD, it is a separate condition completely.

frankie767 profile image
frankie767 in reply to 2greys

Thank you - that is what I thought.

Bronchiectasis is a different condition to COPD. COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and some forms of asthma. It is possible to have bronch develop from having many infections with COPD. I travel a lot with bronchiectasis and do not have much trouble with insurance for that. Most of the questions seem designed to find out if a person actually has COPD. You need to know exactly what your husband is dealing with. For that he needs a bronch specialist. They can treat COPD also but general respiratory consultants don’t know enough and have too little experience of bronch. Look for a consultant who specialises in bronch on the website of your nearest teaching hospital and take the name to your GP.. Good luck

frankie767 profile image
frankie767 in reply to Littlepom

Thank you. We are in Leeds and I have seen that there is a specialist bronch clinic at one of the Leeds hospitals so hoping he gets an appointment there. He had really bad pneumonia two years ago and we wonder if that has contributed.

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to frankie767

I think that Leeds have a very good centre for bronch. Cofdrop-UK may be able to help you with that if you pm her.

Hi frankie,

I attend the bronchie clinic in Leeds and the team are amazing. Please pm me if you wish - I would be more than happy to chat with you. Leeds is a cf centre and all the consultants are experts in cf and non cf bronchiectasis, as are the specialist nurses you will see in clinic. We also don’t wait in waiting rooms but are seen within a private room and the various staff come and go. Quite a few hospitals now are allowing patients who need home IVs to do them themselves but Leeds, along with Brompton, Frimley, Glenfield in Leicester to name but a few have been doing this for years.

You can be confident your husband will be in good hands.

Love cx

Thank you so much!

There are lots of respiratory consultants here so you will need to make sure you have the right ones. We are not supposed to put docs names on site but we can discuss this by pm.


Rainbow52 profile image
Rainbow52 in reply to Littlepom

Hi Littlepom I too have bronchiectasis and would be interested to know who you get your travel insurance with. My part of the insurance always works out more expensive than my husband's, who is five years older than me and a smoker but no lung problems! Many thanks

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to Rainbow52

It is complicated. When I only had to declare bronch some of the more expensive companies didn’t add anything for it and cheap companies - insure and go, added a little bit. Now I have heart issues which make it more expensive. It is important that you can say that you have not had any unplanned hospital admissions or oxygen in the last 1/2 years and that you put that you have not had more than one exacerbation in the last year. It is a case of shopping around I’m afraid.

Rainbow52 profile image
Rainbow52 in reply to Littlepom

Thank you for that😀

COPD is nothing like bronchiectasis. and is not the same.. CT scan should have found which it was and a GP can tell if a person has diminish airways function as in COPD, in my case Emphysema which is just one of other COPD conditions.. My Dr diagnosed with a stethascope backed by an XRAY, was that simple.... BTW travel insurance asks how far you can walk without getting breathless, depending on the answer is the cost..

Hello frankie767. I too was diagnosed with C.O.P.D last July. Have seen a Respiratory nurse, Who although i was diagnosed with a Severe Obstruction of the Airways, says i have no need for puffers or anything at present. Ref Health Insurance. I have a few health conditions. So ring up and talk through the quote and ailments on the phone. Thats what i did. A yearly policy will usually work out better value. We have cover for upto 90 day holidays. And paid £440 in November just gone. Hope this helps Brian

in reply to Bingo88

Initially diagnosed with late onset Asthma and treated as such for three years. Then a CT scan showed I had Bronchiectasis. But still the Asthma nurse was convinced I had COPD so my Bronch consultant wrote a stern letter saying " MRS T DOES NOT HAVE COPD" But do I have Asthma as well????

My consultant used to say bronchiectasis was often not diagnosed properly . It's only in the last 10 years or so folk have woken up to it, so to speak. As others have said it's a different condition to COPD.

I started with Emphysema (under the COPD Banner) I was diagnosed after CT scan then.

After very bad chest infection followed by pneumonia another CT scan revealed Bronchiectasis and pleura thickening. I think these extras occur when we get it into further difficulty with chest infections and pneumonia.

Bronchiectasis is not part of COPD

I hope your husband can guard against repeated chest infections, perhaps he should be on a different anti biotic, a specialist should get to the bottom of why so many repeated chest infections, these have to be acted upon quickly and if they do not respond to anti biotics something needs adjusting in medications.

Another thing that may be helpful is if your husband has a supply of sterile sputum sample pots, and hopefully he can supply a sample when there is discolouration (1st in the morning and get to surgery before mid day) before starting anti biotics is best if possible.

Check out the difference in different lung conditions here:

Hi I have heard from many people that they have diagnosed with copd only to find out years later that it's bronch instead. The trouble is if someone is an ex smoker then doctors jump to a copd diagnosis.

BLF are fighting to get everyone with lung problems an automatic referral to a specialist, in the same way cancer and heart attack patients are, to avoid diagnosis left in the hands of inexperienced family GP's. x

Get him on low dose, long term azithromycin. It has anti viral and anti bacterial properties. AND it decreases inflammation aka mucus. Lots of lung patients are on LONG term azithromycin to stay well.

I too am looking at travel insurance at the moment. They won’t give a quote if you are waiting for the results of tests and sadly they wack up the premium as soon as you have anything wrong. I was a fit and healthy 74 year old, and now am a 75 year old with Cryptogenic organising pneumonia, which is a mere nothing compared to some of the other lungies out there, and it’s getting better , however my premium has doubled. My husband has decided to add a couple of heart things now to his list of ailments which makes it even worse. I haven’t finalised yet as I am getting several quotes. These range from £1100 to about £500-£600 for a single cruise trip. So the best thing is wait for the results then shop around. Don’t be tempted to hide anything to reduce the premium though, as they may not pay a claim, even if the claim is totally unrelated to the undisclosed condition

Hope this is useful

Saga Cruises have a very easy-going insurance through a company called great lakes. It has always been this for years.

Have claimed on this for exacerbation without any problem

Saga insurance is completely different . Not great lakes. Have not used this.

Every year i have to attend the asthma nurse despite saying that I already see resp consultant at hospital yearly

The asthma nurse says you have COPD. Idont , I say, I have bronchiectasis. Comment from nurse that they both come under the same "umbrella".

Went to pulmonary rehab recently which includes exe rcises and lectures on lung conditions. Again told all conditions came under the same umbrella.

Was diagnosed 30 yrs ago with industrial asthma. Saw same consultant every 6 months .10 yrs on consultant retired . I was then told it was bronchiectasis. and given steroid inhaler.It is not typical and i have slowly got worse . On joining this forum last year I have learned a lot from peoples posts and am now going to see a bronch specialist next month I wonder what i will be told this time.

Knowledge in the medical world has made tremendous advances in that time , but it is very easy to get stuck under one label.

In this case under one "umbrella"

Good luck

Oshgosh profile image
Oshgosh in reply to Jaybird19

I had the same experience,asthma nurse told me I had COPD,caused by smoking gave up 30 years ago.!!!

Now have diagnosis of zNsip/RD/lupus.

When I went to pulmonary. Rehab,the focus Was on COPD.

Although it was very useful,the physio. Kept giving advice re COPD

Eg,give up smoking? I don’t smoke and

Consultants tell me my condition is not caused by smoking!

Asthma nurse told me. I ddint need to take salbutamol inhaler now Im on fostair.

I find if I take salbutamol through my nebuliser in the morning,I have a much better day. I haven’t told her,can’t tolerate the explanations.

Luckily. Don’thave appointments with her any more.

Some. Health. Care. Professionals seem very unable to accept that diagnoses have changed.

Luckily the consultants whose care. I’m under

Listen to me and take a flexible approach.

janice01 profile image
janice01 in reply to Oshgosh

I have bronch and asthma and

I also found pulmonary rehab helpful.

Go each week to class of walking with odd obsticle, 13 dif exercise stations etc...

Keeps motivated and let's you know if breathing weakening.

I've been told bronch is part of copd too.

Some medics wont accept bronch not copd....

We can only try and educate...


I personally think it is disgusting, you go to your GP with breathless and a former smoker and automatically you are diagnosed with COPD. My husband was diagnosed in 2012 by his GP with COPD....3 yrs on and after numerous chest infections the GP decided to organise a CT Scan which showed he didn't have COPD but infact IPF....which is a completely different disease. How many people are out there thinking they have COPD and it isn't 😠😠. It's really infuriating as these illnesses need to be diagnosed promptly to ensure the correct treatment is administered.

Hi Frankie, I am worried because I was diagnosed with Bronch 9 years ago by a specialist and following a recent bad cough a course of antibiotics and steroids was prescribed by my GP and now the cough is better, but the GP practice nurse recommended I start using a brown inhaler but to be honest I am not sure I am asthmatic as the inhaler does not seem to make much difference to my breathing. I have a review in 6 weeks and thinking maybe I should stop using the inhaler as I don’t want to take something I don’t need.

Sliz profile image
Sliz in reply to Carnut

I have only had Bronchiectasis diagnosed in the last two years. It is mild but the main symptom is the cough, I am under Hammersmith Hospital and was recently advised today use the brown inhaler twice a day to ‘settle’ my lungs as the consultant said they are probably inflamed and over sensitive. Seems to help, I am not asthmatic either by the way.

It seems to me that there is little consistency in advice about the identification of Bronchiectasis and how it fits in with COPD.

I was diagnosed some years ago with COPD and the tests were via spirometer testing, my results should COPD but with a concern that I had a link with something else. Finally after being referred to a specialist who ordered a CT scan as if as he thought I had bronchiectasis.

The results confirmed bronchiectasis together with confirmation that I had COPD as well.

I agree about insurance I was quoted over a thousand pounds for a holiday in Europe this year. Staying at home until I can go a year without exaserbations , Good luck

Hi frankie767. for many years I suffered from asthma (at least was diagnosed with it), then a few years ago they said it had "developed" into COPD. Last year, however I developed a constant persistent cough, and after x-raying me and being given a scan and several tests, my Respiratory Medicine Consultant said I had Bronchicestasis, so I don't know whether I've always suffered from that instead, and what, if any, the connection is between asthma and COPD. I find my consultant very helpful, so I don't think you should worry about your husband too much, as I'm sure he is in good hands, and his specialist will be happy to answer any questions he may have. Hope this has helped a bit, but sorry I can't help with regards to travel insurance.

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