The official blog of the Lung Institute.
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that ranges from mild to severe, or stage one to four, stage four being the most developed. COPD is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult. It is actually an umbrella term for diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is an unfortunate reality, and COPD around the world is a growing epidemic.
COPD is an incurable condition that worsens with time. Traditional treatment options include taking daily medications, using supplemental oxygen, and, in more severe cases, a lung reduction or transplant. New medical advancements have allowed several clinics in the United States to use stem cell therapy to treat lung disease. Stem cells are extracted from a patient’s blood, fat tissue or bone marrow, processed, then reintroduced directly into the damaged tissue.
The Lung Institute is a top clinic in the United States that only treats lung disease using stem cell therapy. Many other stem cell clinics claim to treat several different ailments, however, the Lung Institute believes that specialization is key to high success rates. To date the Lung Institute has treated nearly 1,000 patients since their inception in 2013.
While 1,000 patients is a significant number, the Lung Institute has a long way to go. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Fifteen million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. If there are that many lung disease sufferers in the United States, what does that number look like on a global scale?
What Does COPD Look Like around the Globe?
According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than three million people died of COPD in 2012, or six percent of all deaths globally that year. About 90 percent of COPD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that 65 million people have COPD worldwide. While COPD knows no borders, the reality for a person with COPD can vary greatly depending on where he or she lives.
Developing countries face the most challenges when it comes to COPD, as reported by Everyday Health:
- Poverty. The first challenge is living in poverty. A poorer person is more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke, use of biomass fuel and outdoor pollution by living closer to an air-polluting factory.
- Lack of regulations. Many governments in low- or middle-income countries do not regulate cigarette smoking, tobacco marketing or pollution.
- Access to healthcare. Many individuals in developing countries do not have access to healthcare and therefore go undiagnosed after developing a disease. Even if the individual were to receive a diagnosis, often times they cannot afford the treatment options.
What is Being Done Now?
While COPD awareness is more prevalent in developed countries like the United States, England and Sweden, raising awareness in developing countries is key to finding the path for proper treatment, and hopefully an eventual cure. Currently international collaborations like WHO, the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute are working in tandem to raise awareness, along with other professional organizations like the American Thoracic Society. There are several non-profits getting involved as well, such as Peace Corps volunteers who teach community members how to build safer indoor cooking stoves that emit less smoke.
While we are still on the path to finding a cure for COPD, raising awareness in the meantime is imperative for combatting the disease worldwide. In the United States, the Lung Institute is battling COPD every day using stem cell therapy. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, the Lung Institute might be able to help today. Contact one of our patient coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you quality for stem cell therapy for COPD.