Everything You Need to Know About COPD
Have you noticed that you or a loved one has been coughing a lot more lately? Feeling out of breath? Maybe even sometimes experiencing wheezing? These traits all have one thing in common, COPD. COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive form of lung disease that ranges from mild to severe. It is the restriction of airflow into and out the lungs that makes breathing difficult. COPD is the umbrella term for suffers who have been diagnosed with or show signs of emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
Many patients with COPD have trouble walking short distances and are prone to ongoing illnesses and pneumonia. Too often, oxygen support is needed 24 hours a day just to breathe normally. There is no cure for COPD but treatment options are available to prevent more damage and hopefully improve the quality of life. Here is some COPD info just for you!
What Causes COPD?
The primary cause of COPD is tobacco smoke. The toxins in cigarette smoke destroy tissue and cause inflammation of the lungs. When you smoke a cigarette, the toxins are inhaled into the lungs soaking the passageways and air sacs. The structure and elasticity are destroyed. When you breathe out, only some of the toxins leave your body. In the case of the sponge, you can eventually wash the paint out. Unfortunately, you can never fix the damage that is done to your lungs.
A consistent inhalation of air pollutants can cause inflammation in the lungs leading to lung damage and emphysema. The most common places people consume such pollutants is in dense urban environments and near industrial complexes that use harsh chemicals or burn fossil fuels for energy.
On a limited occasion, COPD can be caused by a rare genetic disorder that decrease the production of specific protein. This disorder is known as Alpha-1-antitrypsin. An alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency may cause emphysema to develop in people who have never smoked cigarettes. Alpha-1-antitrypsin is a substance in the lungs that fights the enzyme trypsin (or protease). Trypsin is an enzyme released by immune cells in both the digestive tract and in the lungs, which fights bacteria or digests food. In people who are alpha-1-antitrypsin deficient, the lungs cannot fight the destructive nature of the trypsin. Therefore, the lung tissue is progressively weakened and destroyed, similar to what is found in a person who has smoked cigarettes.
COPD Lifestyle Modifications
- Stop smoking today. Breaking the habit is a definitive way to slow the advancement of lung disease. It is difficult, but making the decision to quit is the first step. Consult your doctor regarding options.
- Exercise. After consulting your doctor, initiate an exercise routine. Exercise is proven to improve pulmonary strength and endurance. Thereby, helping you battle with lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.
- Eat Well. Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Talk to your doctor about a nutrition program that will work for you.
- Be Aware of your Environment. COPD flare-ups are caused by many environmental triggers. Allergens and chemicals are two of the most common, but different factors are triggers for different people. Awareness of this is key. And if you are able to pinpoint environmental factors that are irritants for you, make a conscious effort to avoid them.
Stem cell therapy for lung disease has been a growing treatment option over the past few years. At the Lung Institute, a progressive stem cell treatment clinic that has emerged as a leader in the global stem cell community, they use stem cells from the patient’s own body to treat lung disease. The cells are called autologous stem cells. These cells are taken from the patient’s blood (venous stem cells) or bone marrow. The stem cells are then cultured and multiplied and returned to the body through an intravenous drip. The new healthy cells are attracted to the areas of the damaged lung cells and get to work promoting the healing of lung tissue. This results in the ability of the patients to breathe easier and inevitably get their life back.