What You Can Do To Make It Better
How Do We Define Emphysema?
Breathing comes naturally to many of us. In doing so, we breathe in much needed oxygen into our bloodstream, which enables the body to work and grow. Almost every day, an average person will breathe in and out nearly 25,000 times. Now imagine having a lung disease and struggling just to do this very simple action. Pretty scary if you think about it!
One such lung disease is that of emphysema. Emphysema is one of the major obstructive lung diseases that fits under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It consists of the gradual destruction of air sacs in the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe over time. These tiny cluster-like sacs are responsible for bringing oxygen to the bloodstream. As emphysema progresses, the inner walls of the air sacs form holes weakening their internal structure, thus less oxygen can reach the bloodstream. Additionally, emphysema works to destroy the elasticity of the airways leading to the air sacs. Shortness of breath and struggling to breathe cause constant problems for sufferers.
Symptoms of Emphysema
Since there are a number of conditions that are classified under a lung disease, the symptoms and causes may vary. Here are some of the most reoccurring ones that have been found to be associated with emphysema:
- Severe or chronic coughing
- Shortness of breath
- On again/off again infections
- Excess amount of mucus
Unfortunately, there has not been a cure developed for emphysema, but that does not mean that the disease cannot be treated. The first recommendation by any pulmonary physician is to advise individuals to stop smoking and stay away from smoke-filled locations. Many physicians also prescribe a combination of bronchodilators and steroids to help expand the airways, thus allowing more airflow to and from the lungs and reducing shortness of breath. Emphysema is also commonly treated with a series of pulmonary rehabilitation (aerobic exercise) and nutritional support. For people in the most severe stages of emphysema, supplemental oxygen is also used for treatment—ranging from occasional use to 24/7 use. Most invasively, a physician may suggest a lung transplant, but this often has limited availability and challenging requirements for eligibility. Sadly no treatment improves lung function, but rather deter the progression of the disease…until now.
Stem Cell Therapy for Emphysema
In the case of emphysema, autologous stem cells are used, meaning they come from the patient’s own body, and can be found in the patient’s venous blood or bone marrow. Stem cells derived from bone marrow or blood have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells. During the procedure, stem cell treatment involves isolating adult stem cells from bone marrow and blood, which requires special laboratory techniques to collect them. After being extracted from the patient’s body, they are then isolated. Then they are given back to the patient intravenously or through the use of a nebulizer. The treatment is minimally invasive and typically an outpatient procedure. The procedure should be performed in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional.
It takes a physician with specific training to perform stem cell therapy adequately and safely. If you would like to find out more about ways to relieve your symptoms of emphysema, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at(800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.