The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Emphysema is one of the chronic, progressive lung diseases categorized as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Emphysema damages the tiny air sacks deep in the lungs, called alveoli, thereby hindering the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This results in low levels of oxygen in the blood. The effects of emphysema on the body make it difficult for those with the disease to live the life they want. To help those looking for new options, we’ve composed a list of 5 tips for managing emphysema.
Managing Emphysema Symptoms vs. Managing Emphysema
The symptoms of emphysema are potentially debilitating, and there are many. The most prominent emphysema symptom includes breathlessness, closely followed by fatigue and chronic coughing. The symptoms of the disease are not the disease itself, managing the symptoms is not the same as treating the disease. If you are on an inhaler that helps limit the number of coughing fits you endure, that is not helping to alleviate or even attack the disease you have. It’s certainly helpful to suppress symptoms, and you will notice below that some of our tips are just that, but thinking holistically about emphysema means treating symptoms and the disease alike.
Managing Emphysema in 5 Tips Made Easy
5. Emphysema Diet
When you have a chronic illness, the food that you decide to consume can mean the difference between exacerbating symptoms and suppressing them. Avoid foods that can cause excessive gas and bloating. This includes cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, and carbonated beverages like beer and soda. However, there are foods, such as shrimp and oranges, that can help improve blood oxygen levels while maintaining a healthy emphysema diet.
4. Emphysema Exercises
It may seem nearly impossible to get up and get moving when you suffer from emphysema and the symptoms of fatigue and shortness of breath, but it is far from it. It’s certainly important to take things slow and start with easy exercises. However, exercising the lungs and the building of tolerance can help improve lung and heart function. Try going on short walks or even some breathing exercises to get you started.
3. Emphysema Treatment Options
One of the most important tips on managing emphysema is to be educated about your options. The traditional options of supplemental oxygen, pharmaceuticals and inhalers are certainly good places to start for many. However, as previously noted, these are simply measures to counteract the symptoms of Emphysema. Now, natural options are available, like stem cell therapy. In a recent study about the results of stem cell therapy for lung disease, the Lung Institute saw an 82 percent success rate in improving quality of life and, of the patients that were tested, 48 percent saw an increase in pulmonary function test results. Know your options, and think holistically about emphysema.
2. Emphysema Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Asking someone for help doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it only means you’re not in it alone. Managing emphysema is a team effort. On your team you’ll have a general practitioner, a pulmonologist and caregivers like your family and friends. Just like in professional sports, the stronger the team, the better the results. Adding a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist to your team can help you have many more wins. Pulmonary rehabilitation classes usually include some simple and easy exercises that a professional helps guide you through.
1. Keep a Positive Outlook
The most valuable asset you have in managing emphysema is yourself. It cannot be stressed enough that you must maintain a positive attitude and focus on success. This doesn’t just include looking in the mirror every day and giving yourself a pep talk. However, that is not a bad idea! You need to keep your mind sharp too. Try completing a crossword or a game of Sudoku every day. The purpose behind this is the same one behind breathing exercises–to keep your mind sharp and working toward the goal of managing emphysema.
Managing Emphysema so You Can Breathe Easier
Pick up the phone, and talk to experts in the field about your options. The Lung Institute has informed patient coordinators with a passion for helping people like you better understand your disease and your options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to learn more about emphysema and how stem cell therapy can help you breathe easier.
Have some tips of your own on managing emphysema? Add them in the comments below.