What is sputum?
If PCD is managed well, then a normal and active life can follow. It is important to break the cycle of sputum getting trapped which causes infection and inflammation.
Sputum (or phlegm) comes from goblet cells which form part of the lining of the air passages. Everybody produces small amounts of sputum to help keep the lungs clear. The sticky, jelly like part traps any particles which manage to get through the nose, and the watery part contains antibodies, enzymes and other proteins which help to destroy the few germs that reach deep into the lungs. The sputum is swept out of the bronchi by the tiny little hairs called cilia which line the bronchi and eventually it is swallowed.
Of course with PCD there is a problem! The cilia may be abnormal, not beat properly or not have developed at all. So we use physio or exercise because the sputum does not get swept out. Whenever the bronchial lining becomes irritated, there is increased sputum production in an attempt to protect the lung. The irritation can include cigarette smoke and pollution. It can include inflammation and infection. Removing the cause of the irritation usually stops the excess sputum production.