Non-typical bronchiectasis symptoms - Bronchiectasis Su...

Bronchiectasis Support

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Non-typical bronchiectasis symptoms


Hello. I've joined this group in the hope that some of you might be able to shine some light on my Mother's diagnosis.

She was told last year that - on top of a host of other conditions - she has bronchiectasis, but her symptoms don't seem to match the classic ones in traditional definitions.

She gets desperately short of breath, sometimes after minimal exertion (eg just getting off the sofa or even sitting in bed), on an increasingly frequent basis.

Such bad spells are usually accompanied by pain across the top of her stomach/under her ribs.

She does not appear to have the build-up of phlegm and difficulties coughing that most experts usually associate with the condition.

Whenever she has questioned this, she has been told that not every person has those symptoms but that that is what she has.

This may be the case, but as she is now suffering increasingly frequent bouts of near-desperation with her breathing, our family is wondering whether she has a similar - but different - condition that perhaps requires slightly different treatment.

I just wondered whether any of you have a similar absence of the apparently key symptom but are still considered to have bronchiectasis - and whether increasingly severe bouts of breathlessness are among your symptoms.

And, of course, if so, how you deal with it?

Thank you.

12 Replies

Hi, I was diagnosed with v mild bronchiectasis about 14 years ago. I mentioned my surprise to the consultant as I v rarely cough anything up, even though my lungs at the time were filled with fluid which seen on bronchoscope. My bronchiectasis was diagnosed by CT scan.

The consultant told me that there were considered two types, one dry ie not coughing stuff up a lot & one wet ie coughing a lot up.

If I get chest infections I tend to feel breathless and cough v little up.

I find that exercise helps a lot & I believe has helped to keep my condition v mild over the years.

I hope this helps.

Pompey24 in reply to Cade1

Hello. Thank you for this. Yes, it does help a lot. However, in my Mum's case, she doesn't really cough anything up at all - but her breathlessness has become more frequent and much more severe. I'm just wondering whether the one small area identified by the CT scan on her lung might not have been a sign of bronchiectasis after all, and maybe something else. It's useful to hear your experience, though.

Cade1 in reply to Pompey24

This must be worrying for you. Has your mum discussed her concerns with the doctor. If her breathlessness is getting worse, it sounds as if she should see someone about it as perhaps she needs different medications etc.

Pompey24 in reply to Cade1

Yes, she has. She's awaiting a referral back to her respiratory consultant and is due to have another chest X-ray. Unfortunately, she's too ill to have it at the moment. the absence of the coughing makes us wonder whether the diagnosis is correct. Hence my interest in your response.

Sops in reply to Pompey24

Hi, sorry to read of your mums ill health, one thought occurred to me, it is difficult i think to diagnose Bronch from an Xray, has she had a CAT scan?

I was diagnosed as having severe asthma , reflux and acute sinusitis after x rays but a CAT scan showed an different story. And i have Bronch,which is managed,

Take care


Pompey24 in reply to Sops

Thank you.

Yes she was initially diagnosed by CAT scan.

It's just that her primary symptoms don't appear to reflect those of most bronchiectasis sufferers.

Sops in reply to Pompey24

Thats good. My consultant gets upset when only x rays are given. I have deformed airways which are a result evidently ,of having measles and whooping cough at a very young age and to a serious degree, but i don't have the same problems as ,some other people,

i hope your mums breathlessness improves.

Sops x

Hi, I hope this helps but please forgive me if it does not. I started to get a similar experience to your mum, very breathless and lacking in energy very quickly, just walking a few steps, just trying to go upstairs or make a cup of tea etc. I do get loads of mucus too. Also got back aches and stomach aches and pains right side. Which point to gallbladder. My doctor ignores this but I think there may be a connection. But I was told it was COPD due to asthma. I went to see an acupuncturist and had the needles and got a lot better. Then we had the lock down and then it was not possible to go back to her. She is closed for now till this is over. I will return, I have to. Living like this is awful. My partner has to do all of the housework and chores while all I can do is sit around. Its a struggle to get washed or dressed or any of the normal things we usually do each day. My life has become very boring and he is far too busy. The doctor just gives me inhalers, they do not work. Please think about acupuncture.

Pompey24 in reply to wiserlady

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply. It's interesting about the possible inter-connection of ailments, but of course, it's not the best time to pursue these things.

Thanks for the tip about acupuncture. I, personally, have had mixed results when I have had it, but I'll mention to my Mum to consider further down the line.

Brenda102 in reply to Pompey24

I have also heard about the dry bronchiectasis, which she may have. I also get pain sometimes, it is when the mucous gets too dry and stuck to cough up for me. I nebulize just saline(salt) almost daily. A physician also recommended steaming over boiled water, can add peppermint or lavendar, just not too close so you don't burn your face. I also do chair yoga (once I got more energy), it works on breathing and stretching the chest wall muscles that also helps with the pain. Maybe she can do it online while sitting. Even one or two stretches might help. Drinking clear fluids and teas, a more fresh food diet can help too.

They give me albuterol (US) along with the saline, I add that if is difficult to open the airways. If it gets too dry, difficult to cough up and painful for me, I found that was a flare up, antibiotics have helped.

Once she gets some help she can get better, it takes a while and comes and goes.

wiserlady in reply to Brenda102

please tell me how often on average you have to use antibiotics and which ones.

Pompey24 in reply to Brenda102

Thank you. The bizarre thing is my Mum doesn't have the mucous, so doesn't need to try to force it up. It's the fact she doesn't have this that makes me wonder whether bronchiectasis was the correct diagnosis.

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