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How to Manage Emphysema in 5 Easy Steps

31 Jul 2016
| Under Emphysema, Lifestyle | Posted by | 6 Comments
How to Manage Emphysema in 5 Easy Steps

Living with a chronic lung disease presents many challenges. When symptoms, such as shortness of breath, constant coughing and fatigue make daily tasks difficult, it may seem like there’s no way to manage emphysema. Emphysema, along with chronic bronchitis, is a disease that falls under the larger category of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis are obstructive lung diseases. Emphysema damages the air sacs in the lungs, making breathing difficult. We’ve compiled 5 easy steps to help you manage emphysema.

5. Be Prepared for Emergencies

From inclement weather to a sudden flare-up of emphysema symptoms, having a plan in case of emergencies is important. Keep a list of your current medications, dosage, instructions for use and list any food, medication and environmental allergies in your wallet. Remember to include your doctors’ names, their phone numbers as well as the names and phone numbers of friends and family to contact on your medications list as well. Keep your rescue inhalers and any other medications your doctor prescribed for emergencies with you at all times.

If poor weather conditions worsen your emphysema symptoms, being mindful of the weather will help you prevent having a flare-up. For some people, extremes in heat or cold can act as a trigger for emphysema symptoms.

4. Receive Emotional Support

Because living with a chronic condition present daily challenges, it’s normal to feel frustrated, angry, afraid, worried and depressed. You may experience times when you feel better emotionally and moments when you feel worse emotionally. Remember that these fluctuations are normal, and allowing yourself to feel these emotions is an important step. Sometimes, however, the negative emotions may feel too overwhelming. There are some things you can do to help you feel better, including talking to your close friends and family, joining a lung disease support group and seeking the assistance of a professional mental health counselor.

Your close family and friends are there to support you. Help them understand what you’re going through and what they can do to help you manage emphysema. Support groups are excellent sources of encouragement because you’ll be surrounded by people who also have chronic lung diseases and understand what you’re going through. By talking with a mental health professional, you can learn coping techniques, relaxation techniques and strategies to improve your overall quality of life. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone, and there are many people, counselors and support groups ready to help.

3. Avoid Lung Irritants to Manage Emphysema

How to Manage Emphysema in 5 Easy Steps

To manage emphysema, it’s essential to avoid lung irritants. High amounts of air pollution, airborne allergens, smoke and chemical fumes can make breathing more difficult. Staying indoors during days of poor air quality or when it’s very hot or very cold outside can help you avoid triggers.

Household cleaners, perfumes and indoor allergens, such as dust and mold, are indoor irritants that can also cause symptom flare-ups. Look for cleaners that don’t irritate your emphysema and are fragrance-free and contain non-toxic, simple ingredients, like baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Consider removing curtains, carpets and dust collecting objects from your home. Place mattresses and pillows in dust mite-proof, zippered cases, and wash bedding weekly at high temperatures to make sure it is cleaned thoroughly.

2. See Your Doctor Regularly

To manage emphysema, it’s important to see your doctor regularly. Your doctor will monitor your lungs, your symptoms and your treatment plan. While you are at your doctor’s office, you will be able to discuss what vaccinations you need, such as a flu shot or pneumonia vaccine. Because people with chronic lung diseases can catch colds, flus and pneumonia more easily, getting vaccinated is an easy prevention step.

If you or your doctor notices a change in your lung health, you may want to modify your treatment plan. Keep a list of questions or concerns you have, so you can discuss them with your doctor. Some doctors may want you to monitor your blood oxygen levels at home with a pulse oximeter. Some doctors may prescribe oxygen therapy, and others may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation. There are treatment options available to manage emphysema, so seeing your doctor regularly, even if you feel well, is important to deciding what treatments will be best for you. If you experience a sudden change in symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

1. Follow Your Treatment Plan to Manage Emphysema

While there isn’t a cure for emphysema, there are treatment options available to help you manage it and have the best quality of life possible. You and your doctor will work together closely to develop the best treatment plan for you. Your doctor may recommend medications like inhalers and steroids as well as oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation. Some people have found alternative treatments such as acupuncture, herbs, vitamins, diet, exercise and stem cell therapy helpful to manage emphysema.

Many people have reported an improved quality of life after receiving stem cell treatment. In fact, many patients are able to reduce or come off of their oxygen, exercise more and perform daily tasks with ease. Stem cell treatment works to promote healing within the lungs, helping patients breathe more easily. If you or a loved one has emphysema, chronic bronchitis or COPD and would like to learn more, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. sh

    2 months ago

    Dear Susie,

    Thanks for your question. Treatment cost varies depending on treatment type, so it’s best to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator to answer your question. Our patient coordinators have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost, and they are happy to answer your questions and discuss treatment options and cost with you. So, please contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Best Regards,
    The Lung Institute

  2. Susie Margaris

    2 months ago

    Can you please give me a ballpark estimate of treatment costs for Mild Emphysema. I’m quite a distance from Tampa so I am asking about cost before traveling and attending. Are we talking $5,000, $10,000 or much more???
    Thank you,
    Susie Margaris

  3. sh

    3 months ago

    Dear Carol,

    At this time, insurance companies don’t cover stem cell treatment. We’re hopeful that treatment will be covered by insurance companies in the near future, but it may take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit and decide to cover the therapy.
    In the meantime, treatment cost varies depending on treatment type. The best way to learn more about stem cell treatment options and get answers to all your questions is to contact our patient coordinators at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you.

    The Lung Institute

  4. carol

    3 months ago

    I HAVE AN appointment with my dr in october……i have severe copd and been suffering a very long time…i’m going to mention stem cell treatment to him as opposed to blood gases etc.i have been through so much since april..hospitalised 3 times….icudbated in july…..came close to death……if stem cell will help i’m willing,of course if my insurance will cover me….i will look into this further…..i just want to feel better without all these flare ups….thank you carol…..

  5. PB

    3 months ago

    Dear Jere,

    Unfortunately, at this time, most doctors aren’t going to recommend anything that is not considered traditional medicine, especially when the treatment is not yet covered by insurance. Generally, doctors practice traditional medicine and are very statistical. Even though there are many advancements in the field of regenerative medicine, many doctors are still skeptical. However, we are hopeful that in the future stem cell treatment will be covered by insurance. Keep in mind that this process can take time though. Also, feel free to share our most recent findings with your husband’s doctor by clicking here, and remember that we are happy to answer any questions you have. Contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators today. We hope this helps you and your husband, and we look forward to hearing from you both soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  6. Jere Van Allen

    3 months ago

    The Dr. says my husband has some COPD, Enphysema, but mainly idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He’s been on Esbriet since Jan. and he has an appointment for a PFT test and blood work on the 8th of Aug so we should know more by then. I’d like to mention that I looked up your institute online but I don’t want to be humiliated by asking questions about stem cells.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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