Bronchiectasis symptoms

One of the first symptoms of bronchiectasis is a continuous, persistent cough that can last for months, even years. This cough is a body self-defense to the enormous amount of sputum produced, which may contain mucus, other particles and, if an infection is present, pus.1

Other symptoms may include changes in the smell of the breath, paleness, shortness of breath that worsens with exercise, wheezing, chest pain, and clubbing of the fingertips. Clubbed fingertips result from tissue beneath the nail thickening, so that the fingertips become rounded and bulbous.

More serious symptom can develop with time, possibly the result of serious lung infection. These may include a bluish skin color and a blue tint to the nails and the lips, confusion, rapid breathing, and running a high temperature (38C /100.4F).2

Bronchiectasis signs

When listening to the lungs with a stethoscope, a doctor will hear abnormal lung sounds such as a distinctive crackling noise when breathing in and out.3  These sounds reflect a buildup of fluid, mucus or pus in the small airways of the lungs.

Children with bronchiectasis may not grow at the same rate as other children, and/or may lose weight.

As the condition develops, or an infection sets in, people usually feel very tired and blood may be present in the sputum.

Signs of an infection include a more severe cough, with more mucus that is greener in color than usual and often with an unpleasant smell. People may also feel more tired and feverish, cough up blood, and experience sharp chest pain that worsens while breathing.

If lung infections are not treated on time and become severe, they may require hospitalization.


Bronchiectasis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.