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Living With Bronchiectasis

What to Expect

Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition with symptoms that need to be managed over many years.

  • Needing to take antibiotics for 1 to 2 weeks during exacerbations
  • Occasional hospital stays for IV antibiotics, especially if your lungs are infected by difficult-to-treat bacteria or other microbes
  • Lung function tests, chest X-rays, or CT (CAT) scans
  • Mucus collection to check for infection as needed
  • Possibly bronchoscopy, a procedure performed under sedation by lung doctors (pulmonologists) to directly inspect the bronchi with a flexible camera

Managing the Disease

Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition with repeated exacerbations that can develop slowly over a few weeks or rapidly over a few days. It is important to incorporate self-care strategies into daily life, including taking oral and inhaled medications, performing mucus clearance techniques, and getting plenty of rest.

Finding Support

Social support means you have friends, family and other people to turn to when times are hard. When you connect with others, problems seem more manageable and usually your overall quality of life improves. Whether you are having a good day or bad day, chances are someone else has been exactly where you are or wants to lend a helping hand.

  • Lung HelpLine
    Our Lung HelpLine is open seven days a week and is staffed by experienced registered nurses, respiratory therapists and certified tobacco treatment specialists. We are here to provide you with the support you need and the answers you are looking for.
  • Living with Lung Disease Community on Inspire
    Connect with others, share experiences and learn from friends in this free online forum for people facing lung disease. Our Living with Lung Disease virtual support group can help build your support network and give you a place to chat with peers about how bronchiectasis is affecting you.
  • Support Groups
    If you feel alone and isolated, support groups can help. It feels good to talk with others who understand, which has a positive impact on your health. Explore the American Lung Association Better Breathers Club meetings near you.

    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

    Page Last Updated: November 18, 2019

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