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Living With BEThis is your journey with BE. Map out your plan.

Work with your doctor to help manage your BE.

Bronchiectasis (BE) is a lifelong condition that can take time to manage. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about your long-term goals, including what you may experience along the way.

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Partnering with your doctor to manage your BE

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Make a management plan:
Ask your doctor about how your BE will be managed and the goals of management. This will help you understand and track your long-term plan.

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Schedule regular check-ins:
Ask your doctor how often you should come in for follow-up appointments and what they will assess when you come in. This will help you understand the goal of each visit and how your management plan is working.

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Track and manage possible BE flares:
Track when your BE symptoms get worse, how the changes make you feel, and what seems to trigger them. BE flares are associated with lung damage and may make your BE worse over time. Letting your doctor know how often you think BE flares are happening is important, so you both can discuss what to do about them as well as ways to reduce them in the future.

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How to manage BE.

The goals of BE treatment may include preventing lung infections and inflammation, clearing mucus, and preventing future lung damage.

There are many ways your BE may be managed. You and your doctor will work together to decide the best strategies for you. You may even get referred to a specialist who has more experience managing the disease.

2 common BE management strategies

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Airway clearance techniques help clear extra mucus from your airway and prevent it from leading to infections. Your doctor may recommend 1 or a combination of airway clearance techniques for you. These can include:

  • Deep coughing
  • Huff coughing
  • Positive expository pressure (PEP) and oscillating PEP
  • A percussion vest (high-frequency chest-wall oscillation)
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Medications may be prescribed by your doctor to help manage your BE. To decide which medications to use, your doctor may need to collect samples of your sputum, or mucus, to understand more about your lungs. Medications can include:

  • Mucolytics (medicines to break up mucus)
  • Inhaled medications like hypertonic saline (to help clear mucus from the lungs)
  • Antibiotics (to treat infection in your lungs)

Options for addressing damage may include pulmonary rehabilitation—for example, physical activity or exercise—bronchodilators, or surgery.

No matter what the strategies are, it’s important to work with your doctor to find the best way to manage your BE, because every patient is different.

I noticed when I was at the mall, I could walk further without getting out of breath. So, I’m pretty sure my airway clearance is working, but you have to use it continuously.


Edna, a real person living with bronchiectasis (BE)

When it comes to managing BE, your lifestyle can make a difference.

When you’re living with a lung disease, it’s especially important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That’s because exercise and diet can affect how your body works. Here are a few lifestyle habits to keep in mind:

Getting exercise

Quitting smoking

Getting vaccinated

Staying hydrated

Changing your diet

Remember, talk to your doctor if you have any questions and before starting or changing a diet or exercise regimen.

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