Brochioectasis Lung Disease
Chronic Obstruction Lung Disease (COPD) is a term that includes a whole group of lung diseases that block airway flow making it difficult for an individual to breath. Typically patients are short of breath, and their lifestyle is affected to the degree of their disease.
COPD fall under two types:
- Emphysema - destruction of the air sacs
- Chronic Bronchitis - inflammation of the bronchial tubes
Brochioectasis is a chronic illness where the walls of the bronchi are thickened from inflammation, and there is often infection. Exacerbations of this disease may be frequent. This disease falls under the chronic broncitis definition.
My Personal Experience
I was diagnosed with bronchioectasis several years ago. It is a lung disease that damages some areas of the lung so the lining of the lunds is thickened and is no longer smooth. The result of this phenomena is increased congestion, which causes a recurrent cough. Infections may occur with some frequency, and they do not always respsond well to some antibiotics.
I have lived with this disease for the past several years, which my pulmonary doctor said was due to having Sjorgren's Disease. This is an autoimmune disease that often occurs in individuals with systemic lupus.
Initially to determine if I had this disease my doctor ordered a high density chest cat scan, but my insurance company turned it down. Since when does an insurance decide how a doctor practices medicine? They said I didn't meet the criteria.
I was upset about this, as this insurance isn't cheap, and the doctor stated the reason for the test was to rule out bronchiectasis. Ultimately the doctor was able to get approval, which confirmed his diagnosis.
What's Ahead for Patients?
Treatment for the infections that may occur is typically determined by using a sputum specimen sent to the lab. When an individual is diagnosed with this disease blood tests are often ordered to determine if the patient has any other conditions associated with this disease. Cat scans are ordered to look at the lung structure.
There is another test available to determine the if a patient has bronchioectasis, which is a bronchoscopy, I had one following my cat scan. The cat scan could have eliminated the need for the bronchoscopy, but not in my case. I was put to sleep and the doctor used a tube to actually look into my lungs to further diagnoses my problem, and he took samples of damaged tissue and of the infected tissue.
A bronchoscopy is a procedure that uses a tube with a light and a small camera inserted into the airways (through the nose or mouth) through the throat into the trachea looking at the bronchi and bronchioles in the lungs. The bronchoscopy can detect tumors, excess musous, signs of infection, blockages or bleeding in the lungs. Oxygen will be administered as necessary.
Experience with Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis
I had developed chronic asthmatic bronchitis, which occurred a few years ago, and it has been a problem off and on ever since. Chronic bronchitis resulted in increased shortness of breath with any real activity, wheezing and coughing occurred frequently. I have been treated for infections several times. I have also been on antibiotics and steroids much of the time, which helps temporarily but there is no cure. This condition has changed my whole lifestyle.
My insurance company sent a letter to my doctor stating I should have treatment for reflux disease, which I don't have, but they considered it appropriate, as well as, the use of steroids and decongestants. What do they think I have been taking?
They also suggested a chest x-ray. I've had two already, but a more definitive test was necessary to determine why I am not getting well. They mentioned that since I have no smoking history the above recommendation would be adequate, but obviously that was not the case.
Doctors are trained and should be the ones who determine the course of your treatment for any disease. I have been blessed with good doctors who always talk to me about options and answer my questions.
Bronchioectasis is a disease that often changes your lifestyle due to the shortness of breath with activity, and the infections are a problem.
My doctor clearly explained why they wanted to use certain tests or try certain medications but if the insurance companies make the decision, things will no longer work well for people like me.