What is the cause of your Bronchiectasis?

I was diagnosed with bilateral bronchiectasis this summer. I had a bad car accident 4 yrs ago, until then I had asthma that was under control and was quite fit, I went gym regularly and boxed. I had mainly chest injuries including fractured ribs. Afterwards (until I was diagnosed) had a severe cough and would cough till I heaved. For almost 4 years my GP blamed asthma etc despite my contrast visits and begging. I would have at least 6 chest infections a year, I had to fight for tests. A week before my diagnosis I was admitted to hospital with pleurisy. Since the. I have been put on fostair, montelukast and mucodyne I have felt so much better!!

Has anyone else been told how or why they have this condition?

I have never had pnemonia etc

10 Replies

  • Hi Lealee,

    From what I understand a lot is still unknown about how you get this. In my case I think it's something that runs in the family as my mother and grandfather were always coughing. It seems that the ability (or having difficulty with) bringing up mucuous and having think mucus can be hereditary. I also have the sneaky suspicion that my coughing and increased mucuous production gets triggered by house dust.

    I was put on asthma medication (including fostair, which gave me the shakes) for 2 years before I insisted on getting allergy tested and seeing a chest consultant who diagnosed me and I immediately ditched the asthma meds. Seeing a chest physio has really helped me and I now am "in control" of the coughing - can highly recommend it if you've not seen one yet. Before seeing the chest physio I could hardly hold a conversation without a coughing fit.

    I'm also taking max dose of carbosisteine which really helps me get the mucuous out.

    Interested to hear what others have heard about causes.

  • Thanks loriLKl, the consultant tested for sickle cell and allergy’s and they were negative so apparently it’s idiopathic. I didn’t have the cough till the accident. I’ve just started physio and Mycodyne. My GP spent years giving me different drugs (which cost a fortune) one gave me severe night terrors which I can laugh at now but at the time it was awful.

    How do you explain to people what bronchiectasis is?

    I’ve told my family but don’t feel they realise how this effects me.

  • Hi Lealee

    I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis 10 years ago, and asthma about 16 years ago. I was told it was due to having had whooping cough at 6 months' old and recently told that being a a breech birth - feet first and put in an oxygen tent also probably damaged my lungs. My mother explained that the doctor and midwife who delivered me at home said I would be fragile.

    I certainly remember clearing my throat regularly as a child and having associated problems such as perennial rhinitis, ear infections etc. I probably had mild asthma too but all this worsened in my late 40's when told that reflux from a hiatus hernia can contribute towards bronchiectasis.

    I had pneumonia and pleurisy before being diagnosed. I'm sure many people on the website have similar stories. I retired three years ago aged 62 and keep well by walking and taking Symbicort, Carbocisteine, Azithromycin, steroid nasal spray and antihistamine.

    Stay well and keep clearing the lungs (very important).

  • I clear my throat a lot more than I thought which could explain why I get laryngitis often. I never heard of pleurisy until I was in hospital, that’s when I realised how bad my breathing had become. Do you find exercise helps?

  • Ive been told exercise is hugely important. 20-30 min a day of exerting yourself so that your lungs are put to work - which will help with circulating air/shifting mucuous etc. "If you don't use it, you'll loose it" seems to be the motto! I'm a keen runner and do lots of exercise so this was all good to hear for me as I was dreading they would recommend I cut down on running. I also know of someone who joined a singing club to help open her lungs and breath better.

  • Hi Lealee

    I was only diagnosed last year, after several difficult years of chest infections, and pneumonia, which were poorly diagnosed and treated. My Resp Consultant told me that my bronch is idiopathic.

    Like Sandy- I have a lifetime history of allergic rhinitis, and ear infections, then about ten years ago was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia. The hernia causes lots of reflux and it's been queried that aspirating this acid and enzymes could have contributed to the bronch. My Resp Consultant is particularly emphatic about keeping the reflux under control because of the knock-on effect on my lungs.

    I am 62 and retired, and my main exercise is walking my dog. I'm fortunate that I live on the coast, so a brisk walk in cold (it's Scotland), salty, air does wonders for me.

    I take antihistamines, proton pump inhibitors, steroid nasal spray, and antibiotics to help me keep my symptoms under control.

    I admit I've learned more about this illness from online communities, than from the GPs in my local practice, so I'm endlessly grateful to my fellow sufferers for sharing their knowledge and experience.

    Keep coughing everyone, and enjoy the good days.

  • It seems there are slot of people with idiopathic bronch. I find it hard to accept that they can’t say how we get this condition. I was very fit and healthy until a car crash, I guess I feel I need to be able to place blame somewhere. If the Drs had listened to me when I first started saying something isn’t right would my breathing have got to this stage. I have quite an active job so I think that helps.

  • Hi, I am new to this site but was diagnosed with bronchiectasis about 4 years ago. I had whooping cough as a child but also polio which affected my lungs and then yearly bouts of bronchitis and laryngitis. also 7 years ago pneumonia.

    I have recently moved to an area near busy main roads and motorways and find my btonchirctasis seems much worse. Had anyone else experienced this? I am thinking that sea air might benefit me so despite another moved this might be best. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Exercise does seem to be a key to helping keeping well but It is difficult to her motivated as I find that I am very fatigued with this complaint. Any suggestions?


  • I find that certain things affect my bronch, smoke, car fumes, strong perfumes, damp etc.

    Do you find that if you’re on holiday (fresh air) you breathe better?

  • I had whooping cough as a child. Now I have a hiatus hernia

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