Describe the pathophysiologic process of both bronchiolitis and bronchiectasis. Compare and contrast the two processes.

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Bronchiolitis, a form of respiratory infection, is caused by inflammation in the small airways within the lungs called the bronchioles. RSV is the virus that causes it. It can lead to difficulty breathing and even wheezing. The body’s response to this type of infection typically consists of increased mucus production which can lead to further blockage of these airways resulting in more severe symptoms.

Bronchiectasis, on the other hand, is caused by inflammation or medical conditions that cause damage to larger airways. They become scarred and widened, increasing the likelihood of obstruction or further inflammation. Similar to bronchiolitis and severe coughing, it can also cause difficulty in breathing. However, other symptoms may include fatigue and chest pain.

Although both bronchiectasis or bronchiolitis have similar pathophysiologic causes, the severity of each condition is different. Due to its association to viruses, bronchiolitis is more serious than its counterpart while bronchiectasis may have longer-lasting consequences. This depends on how much damage the lung has sustained over time.

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