I thought it was about time that I actually put together a post which better outlined my health condition. When I tell people I have bronchiectasis, I usually get ‘corrected’ by people telling me it’s bronchitis or I get a blank stare as if I’m talking Japanese. Truth be told, 7/8 years back, I would’ve thought it was in Japanese too!
Since having a diagnosis, my life feels like it’s changed a huge amount. With each year that passes, something new pops up and I question whether I should worry, or if it’s just another part of bronchiectasis (most of which times it is!)
So what exactly is it? I’d be lying if I said I fully understood it myself yet but I’ve gathered a great amount of knowledge from blogs/websites over recent years.
Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung condition which causes abnormal widening of the airways. This is a result of lung damage/an underlying condition and is usually progressive across a persons life. If a person has areas of wide bronchial tubing, it creates greater space for bacteria/viruses to collect and thus, creates infection easily. For someone with bronchiectasis, this infection is much harder to clear and the longer it takes, the more damage created to the lungs. In turn, this can contribute to worsening severity of the condition.
Bronchiectasis is considered a rare condition, however cases are on the rise particularly post Covid. It is particularly prevalent in the over 70s, with 60% of diagnoses being made at this time.
I was diagnosed as a child which makes my case extremely rare. Less than 3% of diagnoses are made before age 40, with 1 per 100,000 diagnoses being made before adulthood. Because of this, understanding the symptoms in the younger population is still unclear.
Over the past few years I have become increasingly symptomatic with so much more than ‘just a cough’. I’ve required a huge amount of intervention from a range of professionals, whom I am very grateful to.
Below is a diagram outlining the many gifts that the term bronchiectasis encapsulates. I don’t often talk about the non obvious side, so I think some of these things may be surprising to others.
I think I carry the symptoms and the uncertainty pretty well most of the time, but some days I really can’t hide how poorly I feel and that’s okay!
I was however honoured to take part in the 100,000 genomes project which will hopefully help with understanding rare conditions moving forward. I hope that future individuals in my position can gain quicker diagnosis/treatment as a result of studies and feel reassured for their future.
I hope this post has given you a whistle stop tour of what bronchiectasis is. I will be making sure to raise greater awareness of this on my blog moving forward!
I’ve recently started a business and have put together some bronchiectasis awareness T-shirt’s which can be found here!!