The symptoms of bronchiectasis are indicative of the condition of excess mucus buildup in the lungs, and infections caused by that buildup. Coughing is a common symptom that tends to get worse when the individual is lying down.
Chest pain is also experienced by many who have this condition, as well as abnormal sounds in the chest. Generally, people with bronchiectasis will cough up large amounts of phlegm. Shortness of breath is another sign.
Finally, a very unique symptom is called clubbing. Clubbing is when the skin right underneath the fingernails and toenails thickens abnormally. Any of these symptoms should be taken seriously and should be examined by a physician.
If a physician suspects bronchiectasis, he or she may take a chest x-ray and/or a CT scan to get a better look at the lungs. A sputum culture, which is a test of the mucus you produce when you cough, can also help identify the condition. A lung function test will show how the lungs are being affected by the bronchiectasis.
If bronchiectasis is identified, the treatment may be varied, but can be very effective for helping maintain a normal quality of life. Mucus-thinning medicines can help prevent buildup while bronchodilators can open the airways. Other treatment options include antibiotics, expectorants, physical therapy, oxygen therapy, and, if necessary, surgery.