The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Chronic bronchitis treatments can vary widely depending on your disease progression. We’re here to help you sort them all out.
For those unaware, chronic bronchitis is one of two conditions that make up chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The other is emphysema. Compared to emphysema (in which the predominant symptom is breathlessness), chronic bronchitis is often characterized as chronic coughing, fever, sinus congestion and chest discomfort. As of 2011, more than 10 million Americans were found to have chronic bronchitis, and as the baby boomer population continues to age further, that number will only increase with time.
As the risk of developing chronic bronchitis increases with time, unfortunately, the hardest hit demographic are often women over the age of 45. Although chronic bronchitis is incurable, it is treatable, and there are a variety of emerging treatment options available that can address the root symptoms of the condition. However, parsing out the best from the worst when comparing traditional and emerging treatment options can be difficult.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to guide you through Chronic Bronchitis Treatments: How to Separate the Best from the Worst.
Chronic Bronchitis and How Does It Happens: An Overview
Chronic bronchitis is a respiratory condition involving frequent fits of coughing. When combined with the condition of emphysema, both of these ailments combine to form COPD. The development of this disease is brought on with the inflammation of the lungs (particularly the trachea and bronchi) and is typically a result of excessive damage to them.
As the bronchial tubes within the lungs become irritated and inflamed, mucus builds up within these tubes increasing difficulty in breathing. This damage can be a direct result of smoke inhalation through smoking, or harmful respiratory conditions in the air such as hazardous work environments, second-hand smoke or air pollution. The added effect of this continual damage is that the cilia (hair-like structures within these bronchial tubes) are damaged as well. These hairs stop germs and other irritants from entering the body, and when damaged, they allow for various bacterial and viral infections to develop within the body.
Chronic Bronchitis Treatments: Which is Best for Me?
Although chronic bronchitis is a serious issue, there are treatments available to relieve its symptoms.
These chronic bronchitis treatments include:
To start, as we’ve mentioned previously, inhalers such as bronchodilators (whether short-acting—used in emergencies—or long—used twice throughout the day) can be incredibly useful for those suffering from respiratory illness. Not only can these chronic bronchitis medications quickly relieve symptoms in the case of emergency exacerbations, but they can also help prevent general symptom expression throughout the day. However, the downside regarding the use of these inhalers rests in the fact that they are often used incorrectly and are coupled with their own side effects including nausea, weight loss/gain, headaches and dizziness.
Corticosteroids on the other hand produce similar effects and work to reduce inflammation. Typically, they are used as a supplement to a traditional inhaler regimen. These can often have their downsides as well.
Oxygen therapy can be incredibly necessary for those at the later stages of lung disease who exhibit limited mobility. As it is a direct infusion of oxygen, it is often an instant supplement to relieve breathlessness. However, dependence on these tanks can be extreme, and once it is formed, it can be quite defeating when attempting to engage socially without one of these tanks in close proximity.
Surgery, however, can be particularly invasive for older adults. Although a lung transplant can be life-changing for someone with advanced lung disease, restoring quality of life and longevity to their years, it also requires a lifetime of immunosuppressive drugs to be taken. Otherwise you risk the chance of organ rejection. As these drugs work to suppress the immune system, this has the unfortunate side effect of leaving you susceptible to illness and infection.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is simply the practice of engaging in coordinated and controlled breathing exercises that are meant to build-up your body’s respiratory muscles. As this is a form of treatment with no biological agent acting or surgery being performed, it is inherently one of the safest and most recommended.
Stem Cell Therapy: Although stem cell therapy is a still an emerging form of treatment, it has shown substantive promise in its ability to use the body’s natural healing mechanisms (stem cells) to relieve symptoms as well as shows the potential to possibly slow disease progression. As scientists and researchers continue to collect information on the potential of this field of treatment (regenerative medicine) and its applicable uses, its efficacy in treating chronic lung disease has been well-documented thus far.
So What’s Next?
Life with chronic bronchitis isn’t easy, and finding an appropriate chronic bronchitis treatment option can be that much more difficult. To address the progressive symptoms of lung disease, the first step in this process is to quit smoking. The second is to address your lifestyle through simple diet and exercise changes. With these behavioral changes it’s possible to greatly affect the pronouncement of symptoms within those with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. However, when lifestyle changes fail to improve your quality of life in the way that you may expect, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. Rather than addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic lung disease like COPD, PF or ILD, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you.
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