Bronchiectasis is the abnormal widening of the bronchi or their branches that usually causes an increased risk for infection. It’s derived from the Greek bronkhia meaning branches of the lung's main bronchi plus the Greek word ektasis meaning dilation.
Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus that can make the lungs more vulnerable to infection.
In addition, elasticity of the bronchi is often lost. Bronchiectasis may be acquired or have a genetic origin. Many clinicians consider bronchiectasis to be a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); it includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Risk factors of Bronchiectasis
People at risk for bronchiectasis include:
- Individuals with alpha-1 antiproteinase (alpha-1 antitrypsin) deficiency or an embryological defect termed immotile cilia syndrome.
- People with cystic fibrosis
- Children that develop lung infections with lung tissue destruction are risk for bronchiectasis to develop later in life.
- People that have recurrent lung infections, aspirate foreign bodies, have had a history of tuberculosis or inflammatory bowel disease.
- People that abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Individuals that are exposed to toxic gases or any substances that damage lung tissue.