Keywords: Lungs, smoking, cardiorespiratory, bronchiectasis, physiotherapy

ALex Hough

The following information has been provided by Alex Hough. Be sure to check out her fantastic website which has loads of resources and reading lists. She has kindly given permission for others to use her advice sheets however you will need to assess whether the suitable for your patients, adjust them as appropriate, and if using them in the NHS;

  • Get them checked by your Trust
  • Add your name and contact details.
  • Go through them with patients and sign them before handing them out.


Find out more about Alex at


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Normal lungs

Air is carried into your lungs through a series of branching tubes (airways, or bronchi). The airway walls produce a small amount of mucus which keeps your lungs moist and traps the dust and germs that you breathe in. The mucus is then normally moved upwards by tiny hairs (cilia) which line the tubes and waft the mucus to your throat, from where it is usually swallowed, unnoticed.



What is bronchiectasis?

This is a chronic condition in which some of your airways have a corrugated lining instead of a smooth lining.  Mucus tends to collect in these little pockets.

Chronic means that it is long-term.  However, it usually doesn’t get worse, so long as you keep yourself out of this vicious cycle:




What is the cause of bronchiectasis?

There are several known causes including:

  • Severe infection such as childhood pneumonia, whooping cough or        measles, which can leave scarring in your airways.
  • Sometimes, inhalation of a small object such as a peanut earlier in life.
  • Occasionally, lack of immunity to infection, for example a lack of antibodies (proteins in your blood which neutralise viruses and bacteria) which occasionally happens if you get a severe virus infection.

However, over half the people with bronchiectasis in the UK have no obvious cause for it.

 Read more..


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