Whats the long term prognosis?

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Hi - I am 45, have been athsmatic since I was 6 and have been seeing a consultant for the past 2 years who suspects I have bronchiectasis. I have had numerous scans, x-rays, bronchoscopy, IV antibiotics, you name it - they've tried it.

At the moment my symptoms seem to have developed a distinct pattern - clear at night, worsening during the day until I am gasping like an old woman by mid afternoon - some days worse than others. I have sent samples of the gunge I cough up to the lab for culture but despite a lot of white blood cells they can't grow any bugs. I am not taking any antibiotics at the moment as I am reluctant to blast my system with more drugs if we don't now what we're dealing with.

I find the only thing that works at the moment is to go out for a cycle ride mid afternoon followed immediately by chest percussion.

I don't mind doing this - I enjoy the exercise and I'm pretty fit apart from struggling to breathe at certain times of the day. At my last consultation my x-ray showed a worsening of the condition in the lower part of one lung and my spirometry is down from last time - is this something that will improve or is the only way down?

I am wondering what the long-term implications are. I have been admitted to hospital with an athsma attack in the past and know how scary that can be and am terrified that a few years down the line I may be in that state all the time. I am a very active outdoorsy person and the prospect of being unable to do anything is unthinkable!

I would love to hear from anyone with similar symptoms.

Thanks :run:

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Similar situation to you. Aged 70 however with asthma since age 7. A few times in hospital with it but have had no real trouble with it for years(thanks to inhalers etc.)but bronchectasis now diagnosed - no problem at night - start to cough when been up say 2 hours. Can cough it up OK but it never clears, always there. Can play golf and the exercise seems to help a lot, but it always comes back

    Consultant says my lungs are good and will last for years so that's encouraging - but this damm permanent cough is so annoying

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  • Posted

    You'll always have it I'm afraid but it won't necessarily get any worse. I have had mine for nearly 60 years!

    I developed bronchiectasis because I had measles when I was a baby and I was given a very poor prognosis at the time - lucky to live to my 20s and all that. I am very well considering, but I have stopped being \"silly\" about taking drugs. For years I wouldn't take anything. Now I use a steroid puffer every day and take azithromycin three times a week. If I get a chest infection I drop the azithromycin and take other antibiotics instead until it clears up. I am tons better since I started getting proper help.

    Heaven knows what my immunity is like but I keep very well, can walk OK and garden and take care of my housework. I also work part-time and have been married for many years.

    You do feel very isolated with this complaint because hardly anybody knows what it is and they always assume that ruddy cough is a smokers' cough!

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  • Posted

    I have had a cough for 15 years was always told it was just asthma never really needed any drugs as i did,nt find it that bad.raced motorbikes most of my life so have been fairly fit.its just been the last 5 months that the cough got much worse with no relief from it also the phlem has not stoped. trouble is im not a doctor person so did,nt go much now i always seem to be there have had 7 courses antibiotics in 3 months just been put on serstide as others have,nt worked and touch wood seems to have made a differance.Can sleep at night as before i just felt like i was filling with phlem and had to sit up most parts of most nights.guess at 50 im just wearing out are there any other effects likely to occur? get a few side effects chest pains now and then and palputations now and then. feels a bit strange to be diagnosed with something that cant be cured guess were not bullet proof afterall
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  • Posted

    The useful Patient UK website information about bronchiectasis says:

    \"Most people with bronchiectasis (with no underlying cause) have a good outlook. Symptoms in many affected people do not become severe. Treatment, in particular antibiotics when an infection occurs, or regularly when needed, keeps most people reasonably well.\"

    Like several correspondents, I was diagnosed with asthma at an early age - in my case at about the age of four, after a bout of whooping cough, which probably started the asthma off. But I am wondering if this diagnosis was misleading, as I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis two years ago and am wondering if in fact I have had the \"makings\" of the illness for much longer. Whatever name you give it, my lungs have obviously not been working properly for some (many?) years. Even at school, I could never run more than about 100 yards (now I can't run for the bus!). Mind you, my main symptom has been wheeziness and breathlessness, rather than coughing up sputum, so perhaps it was simply asthma which has now developed into bronchiectasis.

    On a frivolous note, one problem with bronchiectasis is trying to remember how to spell it!

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