You should see your GP for advice if you develop a persistent cough, so they can look for a possible cause.
Your GP will ask you about your symptoms, such as how often you cough, whether you bring up any phlegm (sputum) and whether you smoke.
They may also listen to your lungs with a stethoscope as you breathe in and out. The lungs of people with bronchiectasis often make a distinctive crackling noise as a person breaths in and out.
You'll also probablyhave a chest X-ray to rule out other, more serious, causes of your symptoms, such as lung cancer .
If your GP thinks you may have a lung infection, they may take a sample of your phlegm, so it can be checked for bacteria.
If your GP suspects you could have bronchiectasis, you'll be referred to a doctor who specialises in treating lung conditions (a respiratory consultant) for further testing.
The maximum time you should have to wait for referral is 18 weeks, although you may not have to wait as long as this. This produces a very detailed picture of the inside of your body and the airways inside your lungs (the bronchi) should show up very clearly.
In a healthy pair of lungs, the bronchi should become narrower the further they spread into your lungs, in the same way a tree branch separates into narrower branches and twigs.
If the scan shows that a section of airways is actually getting wider, this usually confirms bronchiectasis.
Other tests can be used to assess the state of your lungs and to try to determine what the underlying cause of your bronchiectasis may be.
These tests may include:
Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus that can make the lungs more vulnerable to infection.
The most common symptom of bronchiectasis is a persistent cough that brings up a large amount of phlegm on a daily basis.
Bronchiectasis is caused by the airways of the lungs becoming damaged and widened. This can be due to an infection or another condition. Sometimes, the cause is not known.
You should see your GP for advice if you develop a persistent cough so they can look for a possible cause.
The damage to the lungs associated with bronchiectasis is permanent, but treatment can help prevent the condition getting worse.
In some cases, people with bronchiectasis can develop serious complications that require emergency treatment.