Members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) note the growing number of cases worldwide.
In support of the first World Bronchiectasis Day, July 1, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, if which ERS is a member, is joining the COPD Foundation and several global organizations in raising awareness and sharing information about this lesser-known lung disease.
Bronchiectasis is a lung disease that affects hundreds of thousands of children and adults worldwide. In this illness the airways become enlarged or scarred, making it difficult to clear mucus properly, leading to recurring lung infections. Symptoms include frequent coughing (often with thick, discolored mucus), sputum production, breathlessness, repeat chest infections, increased tiredness, unexplained fever, chills, sweats and weight loss, and chest pain.
Bronchiectasis is often misdiagnosed as pneumonia, but it is a chronic illness and one that places a burden on patients and their families. It can lead to impaired lung function, long-term disability, and premature death. While bronchiectasis is often referred to as a rare disease, it is common in low and middle-income countries and prevalence is increasing globally. In children, especially those in poor communities, bronchiectasis may occur following a lower respiratory tract infection, such as whooping cough or adenovirus infection, or pneumonia. Prevention of respiratory infections by immunization, promotion of good nutrition and reduction of exposure to smoke and other harmful particulates can help prevent bronchiectasis. Although there is currently no cure, detecting and treating bronchiectasis early can improve quality of life and improve long term health.
To be recognized annually on July 1, World Bronchiectasis Day aims to raise global awareness of the disease and help those diagnosed with it and others who may be vulnerable through education, advocacy, and a global conversation focused on reducing the burden of bronchiectasis for patients and their families worldwide.
“By participating in World Bronchiectasis Day, partners are helping to increase global awareness of this disease, which significantly impacts patients and their families,” said Ruth Tal-Singer, President & CEO of the COPD Foundation and World Bronchiectasis Day founding partner. “Although there is currently no cure for bronchiectasis, proper disease management, global education, and advocacy can reduce the burden on patients and help to identify others who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.”
“I’m proud of the FIRS involvement in raising awareness for bronchiectasis. This is something I work with every day, but it’s not one of the more common lung diseases. Because it is lesser known, patients often experience delays in diagnosis when they present with symptoms,” said Doreen J. Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP, President-Elect for the American College of Chest Physicians, Professor of Medicine at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Director of the NYU Bronchiectasis and NTM Program. “With increased awareness comes quicker diagnoses and dedicated research which can lead to better treatment options and improved patient care.”
Living with bronchiectasis can be an isolating experience, as a member of the European Lung Foundation’s Bronchiectasis Patient Advisory Group explains: “Almost everyone knows what asthma is but to explain bronchiectasis is not that easy – so I normally never do that and just say I have a lung disease. It was really difficult to find a lung physician who had real knowledge of bronchiectasis.” Annette Posthumus, the Netherlands.
This year’s World Bronchiectasis Day will focus on raising awareness for the disease, with the following years focusing on treatment and the search for a cure.
About World Bronchiectasis Day
World Bronchiectasis Day, July 1, 2022, aims to raise global awareness of bronchiectasis and help those with the disease and others yet to be diagnosed through education, advocacy, and a global conversation focused on reducing the burden of bronchiectasis for patients and their families worldwide. To learn more about bronchiectasis and to support annual World Bronchiectasis Day, visit worldbronchiectasisday.org