Bronchiectasis, a lung disease characterised by a build-up of mucus in the lungs, is on the rise in Scotland and across the UK, according to experts.
Trigger factors for the illness are thought to include exposure to lung infections in childhood, pneumonia, whooping cough and exposure to harmful substances in the workplace.
"We found that the disease has had a resurgence in recent years, particularly among more well-off members of society. This could be partly down to improved diagnosis in these groups but, whatever the reason, we need better treatment options for patients," said Jeremy Brown, professor of respiratory infection at UCL.
Tragically, the disease so far has no cure although secondary infections can be treated with antibiotics; however, there are some concerns that the increasing resistance of bugs and viruses to antibiotics could cause problems for sufferers in the future, particularly for those with allergies or underlying health conditions.
Recent research statistics describe a situation in which over 12,000 in England were hospitalised with bronchiectasis during 2013/14; unfortunately, there are no comparable statistics for Scotland.
The research, which examined the records of 14 million patients, was carried out by University College London (UCL), University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was published in the European Respiratory Journal.
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