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Traditional vs. Natural COPD Treatment: Your Complete Guide

3 Oct 2016
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Treatments | Posted by | 11 Comments
Traditional vs. Natural COPD Treatment: Your Complete Guide

When you’re living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you’ve probably heard of and tried a lot of different COPD treatments. It can be confusing to keep track of all of your COPD treatment options. To help you better understand all of your COPD treatment options, we’ve broken them down into traditional COPD treatments versus natural COPD treatments.

Traditional COPD Treatment

Typically, traditional COPD treatment options include a variety of medicines, inhalers, steroids and anti-inflammatories. These types of medications do different things to help you manage COPD symptoms.

Brochodilators

Bronchodilators are a type of medicine used to relax your airways, which helps them stay open and makes breathing easier. Usually, bronchodilators are taken through an inhaler, so the medicine passes straight into your lungs. Your healthcare team can show you how to use your specific inhalers.

Within bronchodilators, there are short-acting and long-acting ones. Short-acting bronchodilators work to relieve your symptoms quickly while long-acting bronchodilators provide people with longer-lasting relief. There are two types of bronchodilators: beta-agonists and anticholinergics.

  • Beta-Agonists work to relax tightened muscles in your airways, making your airways wider. Short-acting beta-agonists provide relief within minutes, but typically they only last about 4-6 hours. Long-acting beta-agonists last about 12 hours and are usually used for maintenance.
  • Anticholinergics help prevent the muscles around your airways from tightening. They also can help clear mucus from your lungs, allowing you to cough out mucus more easily. Coming in both short and long-acting types, anticholinergics are available in inhaler and nebulizer forms.

Inhaled Steroids and Oral Steroids

To help reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups, many doctors prescribe inhaled corticosteroids or oral steroids. For people who experience frequent flare-ups, inhaled corticosteroids can be useful. When people have a moderate to severe flare-up, short-term use oral steroids may be prescribed.

Traditional vs. Natural COPD Treatment: Your Complete Guide

Combination Inhalers

Combination medications are drugs that contain two different types of medication in the same inhaler or nebulizer solution. Certain medications combine bronchodilators and inhaled steroids. Some examples of combination medications include short-acting beta-agonist and short-acting anticholinergic medicines and long-acting beta-agonist and inhaled corticosteroid medicines.

Antibiotics and Vaccinations

Because respiratory infections can worsen COPD symptoms, antibiotics may be needed to treat these types of infections. Left untreated, these infections could lead to a serious COPD flare-up.

People with COPD are at a greater risk for serious problems from the flu and pneumonia. Staying up-to-date on vaccinations is a way to protect yourself. Remember to talk with your doctor about having a yearly flu vaccine. Many people only need to have the pneumonia vaccine once; however, sometimes a booster is recommended. Ask your doctor to discuss all of your options with you.

Natural COPD Treatment

Natural COPD treatment options are sometimes referred to as holistic or alternative treatments. Typically, these alternatives include lifestyle modifications, dietary supplements, herbs, chiropractic care, acupuncture and stem cell therapy. Many people use natural COPD treatments in combination with their prescribed medications.

Lifestyle Modifications

One of the most important steps in any COPD treatment plan is to quit smoking and remain smoke-free. While quitting smoking isn’t easy, there are various options to help you quit. For example, try following our free Smoking Cessation guide, which is filled with tips, helpful information and places you can find more help. You doctor will also be able to help you develop a quit smoking plan and will be able to recommend products, medications and support groups.

Healthy a lung-healthy diet and getting enough exercise are also important. Avoiding foods that aggravate COPD symptoms, such as cruciferous vegetables, fried and fatty foods, salt and carbonated beverages, can help you prevent a flare-up.

Try lung-friendly foods like shrimp that are an excellent lean protein, oranges that are packed with vitamins C, B and E and apples that are rich in antioxidants and b-complex vitamins. If you’re looking for a delicious dairy-free, calcium rich milk, give almond milk a try.

Along with a healthy diet, gentle exercise, such as walking, yoga and Tai Chi, are excellent ways to build up strength. Receiving enough exercise can help improve your oxygen levels. Stress reduction promotes relaxation, which can make breathing easier.

Dietary Supplements and Herbs

Traditional vs. Natural COPD Treatment: Your Complete Guide

For people with COPD, making sure you receive enough vitamins can help you and your lungs. Vitamins D, E and omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for people with COPD, helping to reduce inflammation. Eucalyptus also helps expel phlegm. There are many dietary supplements and herbs that can help people with COPD.

Because salt can cause you to retain too much fluid, making breathing more difficult, many people find cooking with herbs both tasty and filled with health benefits. After discussing it with your doctor, try adding these herbs to your COPD treatment plan:

  • Thyme—Packed with a generous source of antioxidant compounds, thyme has been found to improve the clearance of mucus from the airways in animals. Thyme adds great flavor to foods and could have added health benefits.
  • English Ivy—For some people, English ivy may offer some relief from airway restriction. However, because ivy can cause skin irritation in some people, it’s important to discuss using ivy or ivy extract with your doctor before trying it, especially for people who are allergic to the plant.
  • Ginseng—Certain studies have shown that treatment with ginseng gave some people relief from COPD symptoms, including improvements in breathing and exercise tolerance.
  • Curcumin—Commonly found in turmeric, curcumin has the ability to improve a wide range of conditions. Scientists have found that curcumin may have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Red Sage—A study found that red sage is an effective antioxidant and helps protect the lining of blood vessels from injury when oxygen is temporarily cut off and then resumed. For people with COPD who experience low blood oxygen levels, red sage could offer some protection.
  • Melatonin—Usually known as a sleeping aid, a study showed that melatonin helps reduce oxidative stress in people with COPD. This makes it easier for people with COPD to breathe.

Stem Cell Therapy to Promote Healing

When traditional COPD treatment options fail or don’t deliver the results people with COPD are needing, many people have turned to alternative options, such as stem cell therapy.

At the Lung Institute, we use autologous or adult stem cells derived from the patient’s body. In our minimally invasive, outpatient procedure, the stem cells are extracted from the patient through blood or bone marrow tissue. After they are extracted, the cells are separated in our on-site lab and then returned to the patient intravenously.

Because stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs, many patients report feeling better, breathing easier and living a more active lifestyle. In fact, some patients are able to come off or reduce their supplemental oxygen therapy use after treatment.

If you or a loved one has COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about your stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.

11 Comments

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  9. PB

    2 months ago

    Dear Julie,

    Thanks for your comment and questions. We’re glad to hear that you found this information helpful. We understand how challenging it can be to understand all of the treatment options available. Of course, it’s important to discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Because your doctor knows you and your health situation well, he or she will be able to best guide you.

    For the bone marrow procedure, the patient is awake. However, the area where the bone marrow is extracted is numbed before the procedure begins. Many of our patients report feeling surprised by how easy the procedure goes. All of our treatments are minimally invasive and outpatient. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding stem cells, treatments, candidacy and any other questions you have. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

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  11. Julie

    2 months ago

    Hello, thank you for providing this information about treatments of COPD. I have 2 regular inhalers Spiriva and Advair. I have an emergency inhaler Proair. Started these about a month ago. Is there anything more I should be doing?
    Are you asleep when they take bone marrow? I can not tolerate anymore pain in my life! Please respond.

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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.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

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