The official blog of the Lung Institute.
COPD symptoms can be difficult to live with. We’re here to help.
For those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the symptoms of the disease can often seem unbearable. From chronic cough, breathlessness and fatigue, the COPD symptoms can make one’s day-to-day routine difficult while simultaneously eroding the hope of returning to a better quality of life. In this sense, COPD symptoms are not only a source of discomfort, but their strength and frequency can serve as a measurement of one’s overall health. Although alternative treatment options are available in the treatment of chronic lung disease, understanding and handling the symptoms, as well as ultimately addressing disease progression is critical in the treatment process moving forward.
With your health in the mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you the information you need on COPD Symptoms and What You Can Do About Them.
COPD Symptoms- An Overview
COPD is a progressive form of lung disease that typically arises from prolonged cigarette smoke or hazardous respiratory conditions; the disease ranges from mild to severe. COPD is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult and is encompassed by two conditions: emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis. While emphysema is just the description of the degeneration of the alveolar walls of the lungs, for chronic bronchitis, the predominant symptoms of the disease are a daily cough and mucus production for at least three months a year for two consecutive years. The unfortunate reality of COPD is that, for many who have the disease, symptoms don’t begin to appear until significant damage within the lungs has already occurred. Because of this—especially when the patient is unaware and continues to smoke—this can further the damage already inflicted.
What Are the COPD Symptoms?
Although the severity of the symptoms can vary dramatically among those with COPD depending on the stage of disease, environmental conditions, lifestyle habits, diet and genetic history, COPD symptoms one can expect include:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Chronic cough
- Chest tightness
- Excess mucus build-up
- Blueness of the lips of fingernail beds
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
- Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
Here’s What You Can Do About It
As we’ve mentioned before, quitting smoking is the most important step you can take in aiding your respiratory health, and in truth, it’s critical that it’s also the first. Though exercise and a healthy diet can help in bringing energy back into the body, ultimately promoting easier breathing and decreased fatigue, the effects of these lifestyle changes will pale in comparison to the negative effects of continued smoking. So, if you’re looking to reduce your COPD symptoms as much as you can, the first and most necessary step is to quit smoking.
Another key consideration in addressing COPD symptoms is the prevention of common respiratory illnesses such as catching a cold or the flu. These conditions can dramatically exacerbate the typical symptoms of COPD and create a dangerous combination of intensified symptoms within an already weakened immune system. To combat this, it’s incredibly important to get vaccinated with a flu shot every six months to a year. This will give your body a proper defense against cold and flu conditions and will keep your immune system reasonably healthy to stave off infection and disease.
Traditional Treatment Options for COPD Symptoms
Despite the fact that many of the traditional treatment options for COPD can only affect the disease’s symptoms and not its progression—unlike stem cell therapy—there are a variety of medications, surgeries and supplemental options that can work to relieve COPD symptoms.
These COPD treatments include:
- Inhaled Steroids
- Oxygen therapy
- Pulmonary Rehab Program
- Surgery- Lung volume reduction surgery, lung transplant
COPD symptoms bring many challenges, so it’s important to know the road ahead in the treatment of COPD. Although COPD can seem insurmountable, the first step to living a longer life is finding a treatment that addresses the disease head-on. Changing one’s diet and consistently exercising are among the best lifestyle changes one can do aside from quitting smoking. However, if you’re looking to address COPD progression directly, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy directly affects disease progression and can improve quality of life and pulmonary function. For people with lung disease, a change in quality of life could mean the difference between struggling to walk to the mailbox and riding a bike.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like ILD, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, 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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