Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia
Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia What Is Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia?


Woman coughing

Primary ciliary dyskinesia, or PCD, is a rare disease that affects the tiny, hair-like structures (cilia) that line the airways. 

Cilia move together in wave-like motions. They carry mucus (a slimy substance) toward the mouth to be coughed or sneezed out of the body. The mucus contains inhaled dust, bacteria, and other small particles.

If the cilia don't work well, bacteria stay in your airways. This can cause breathing problems, infections, and other disorders. PCD mainly affects the sinuses, ears, and lungs. Some people who have PCD have breathing problems from the moment of birth.

PCD is an inherited disease. "Inherited" means the disease is passed from parents to children through genes. With PCD, this process is very complex. Researchers are still learning how the disease is inherited and which genes are involved.

The symptoms and severity of PCD vary from person to person. You may have only mild symptoms at first, and they may get worse over time.

A correct and early diagnosis of PCD is very important. It will allow you or your child to get the proper treatment to keep your airways and lungs as healthy as possible. An early diagnosis and proper treatment also can prevent or delay lung damage.

Many people who have PCD have normal lifespans. However, about 25% of people who have the disease may develop respiratory failure, a life-threatening condition. A small number of people who have PCD need lung transplants.

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