The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Alternative Treatment Options
Emphysema is a progressive disease that is marked by continuous damage to the air sacs in the lung known as alveoli. Someone suffering from emphysema has constant trouble breathing due to air becoming trapped in the lungs, not allowing for fresh, oxygen-rich air to enter. Treating emphysema naturally may seem like an impossible task for someone suffering from the disease, but natural remedies have been proven to help lessen the symptoms of emphysema.
How to Go About Treating Emphysema Naturally
One supplement that some people use to increase the functioning of the airways is a Chinese mushroom called cordyceps. Although cordyceps are widely used in Asia, there has not been sufficient studies done in the United States. The risks and benefits of this supplement are greatly unknown.
Carotenoids are also sometimes recommended as a natural treatment for emphysema. This supplement can be found naturally in carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash and various leafy green vegetables. Carotenoids should always be used in moderation, especially in supplement form.
Your weight can affect the symptoms and general progression of your disease. For many people, it is healthy to lose weight during the early stages of the disease, but for others, weight may need to be gained during late stage emphysema. It is important to speak with a dietitian before embarking on a medically influenced diet, but here are some general go-to guidelines:
- Lean meats – buy meat that has a low fat percentage. And before you cook it, trim as much fat off as possible. Stay away from read meat as much as possible.
- Fruits and vegetables – always something that should be included in your diet. Stay away from apples, melons and avocados, which may cause gas and extra complications.
- Potassium rich – look for foods contain high amounts of potassium like bananas, potatoes and tomatoes.
- Salt is bad – watch out for salt as it can cause you to retain water and make it difficult to breathe.
Contrary to what couch potatoes nation-wide believe, exercising is natural and needed. Monitored cardiovascular exercise can help improve your lung functioning by making them more efficient at supplying the bloodstream with oxygen. Taking a walk or an easy bike ride can make a difference in the long-term treatment of your disease.
Try various breathing exercises that will help you use all of your lungs when you breathe instead of just the top portion. There is no reason to rush your progress too quickly. Make sure to work with a physical trainer and your physician.