The official blog of the Lung Institute.
The best time to make a discovery about your health is early.
Generally speaking, when it comes to your health, the earlier you discover a problem or abnormality the better. The reason behind this is obvious: intervention is aided by time. Time allows discovery, diagnosis and planning; all of which when combined with ample time can mean the difference between life and death in some cases.
Imagine for a moment that your body was a brand-new car. You’ve been driving it around for years, keeping it filled with gas, and giving it regular maintenance. When it comes to the cars we drive—particularly when they’re new—we know the sounds and vibrations of our vehicles better than anyone. Any new tick or sputter and we’re heading straight to the mechanic. With that said…
Your body is infinitely more important than your car.
In the case of chronic lung disease—such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—the symptoms can mimic general shortness of breath and fatigue. In many cases, these symptoms can be lumped in and confused with the general effects of aging. However, it’s important to know when any new feeling or sensation that seems off or abnormal is typical with your age, or indicative of something more serious like chronic lung disease. In truth, your life—and available treatment options—may depend on it.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to delve into the topic of Diseases of the Lungs: Could It Be Chronic Lung Disease?
Diseases of the Lungs: An Overview
When it comes to diseases of the lungs there can be a large variety. In fact, there’re hundreds of diagnosed chronic respiratory diseases, encompassing a litany of differing symptoms, causes, and origins. For your sake, we’ll stick to the four most dominant diseases of the lungs: COPD, Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF), Emphysema, and Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
The most prevalent form of chronic lung disease, COPD is an obstructive lung disease that largely occurs as a response to long-term tobacco smoking or the inhalation of harmful airborne particulates—as in the cases of pollution or construction work.
- The symptoms of COPD are generally fatigue, shortness of breath and sputum production.
Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF)
Second to COPD and the most dominant form of lung disease within interstitial lung diseases, pulmonary fibrosis can occur through the inhalation of smoke, through genetic predisposition, as well as through other unknown causes.
- The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are similar to that of COPD and are typically associated with shortness of breath, general fatigue, and progressive scarring within the lungs.
Although emphysema is actually a part of the two primary conditions that make up COPD, on its own, it’s the physiological progression of the breakdown of the lung’s alveolar walls.
- As with COPD, the symptoms of emphysema are general shortness of breath and fatigue.
Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)
Similar to COPD but larger in scope, ILD makes up a collective of over 100 restrictive lung diseases with PF serving as the most common form.
- The symptoms of ILD are similar to those of PF and are generally seen as being shortness of breath, a build-up of mucus, fatigue, and reduced mobility.
The Importance of Urgency with Chronic Lung Disease
Whether you’re experiencing a slight discomfort in your breathing when going up the stairs, or a little more difficulty breathing getting to the mailbox, if your breathing feels different in any way that isn’t normal, set an appointment with your doctor.
Did you know that those who consider themselves hypochondriacs—people who are particularly anxious when it comes to their health—live longer than non-hypochondriacs? It’s because they’re hyper-aware of their health, and when they notice something strange they get to a doctor as soon as possible, catching things early when others may ignore it.
When it comes to chronic lung diseases, catching your disease in the earliest stages gives you the best chances for prolonging your current quality of life as long as possible. In contrast, catching the disease too late can dramatically limit your treatment options and ultimately your opportunity to regain any lost quality of life.
If you notice something strange, see your doctor. If it turns out to be nothing, it’s good news all the same. If it’s something more serious, catching it early is the best-case scenario.
What Can I Do Next?
Go see your doctor and ask them to check your lung health.
Tell them the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Write them down a few days before and bring them with you, if need be. Ask for a pulmonary function test. The key to taking charge of your respiratory health, starts from the position of being informed. And that means knowing where you stand.
Regardless of your diagnosis, we always recommend quitting smoking first as the first step to better health, the second is often to address your general health through simple diet and exercise.
Through these behavioral changes, it’s possible to greatly affect the pronouncement of symptoms within those with COPD, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Emphysema and ILD. 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.
For more information on stem cell therapy and what it could mean for your life moving forward, contact us today or call us at (800) 729-3065. Our patient coordinators will walk you through our available treatment options, talk through your current health and medical history and determine a qualifying treatment plan that works best for you.
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