Restrictive Lung Disease
If you have recently been diagnosed, or are extensively researching a lung disease, you may have come across the terms obstructive and restrictive lung disease. Most pulmonologists classify lung diseases as either obstructive or restrictive. While this may seem like a relatively simple way of keeping track of diseases, there are several key differences between each classification. To better understand your lung disease, let’s take a closer look at both obstructive and restrictive lung disease types.
Restrictive Lung Diseases
People with a restrictive lung disease have a difficult time filling their lungs with air because their lungs are restricted from fully expanding. Most of the time, restrictive lung diseases occur when delicate lung tissue stiffens. This sometimes occurs due to excessive stiffness in the chest wall, weak muscles or damaged nerves. Restrictive lung diseases include, but are not limited to:
- Interstitial lung disease
- Pneumoconiosis including black lung, silicosis and siderosis, among others.
Obstructive Lung Diseases
Obstructive lung diseases include conditions that make it hard to exhale all the air in the lungs. Lung damage, or the narrowing of pulmonary airways causes an inability to fully inhale and exhale, leaving a large amount of uncirculated air in the lungs. Some of the most common conditions related to obstructive lung diseases are:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
Obstructive lung disease makes it harder to breathe, especially during increased activity or exertion. As the rate of breathing increases, there is less time to completely exhale before the next inhalation. This makes obstructive lung disease different from restrictive forms of the disease.
Both restrictive and obstructive lung diseases are measured using a pulmonary function test. These tests gauge lung function and overall capacity. Lung diseases can cause shortness of breath, severe coughing and chest pain.
Treating Restrictive Lung Disease
Treatment for restrictive lung disease is commonly limited to prescription drugs and supplemental oxygen. This strategy treats symptoms, but not the disease itself. This has lead sufferers to look beyond common practices to alternative treatment options. These options include homeopathic approaches like the integration of herbs and supplements into your diet to help increase lung function. Increasingly, people have been looking to pulmonary rehabilitation classes and regular exercise routines to help combat their weakening lungs. On the medical front, an innovative treatment option called stem cell therapy allows patients to take their healthcare into their own hands.
Stem cells are the body’s natural healing mechanism. When you get a cut on your finger or suffer from a debilitating lung condition, stem cells travel throughout the body to target the damaged tissue and promote healing. For a simple cut, that means a couple days of scabbing and maybe a little bleeding, but eventually your skin looks like new again. Unfortunately, the same is not the case for chronic progressive disease. Stem cells don’t work as quickly to start the healing process of the tissue as the disease does in destroying it. Stem cell therapy involves transferring stem cells from one part of the body to another, focusing the healing ability of the cells in a much more rapid and concentrated manner.
Lung disease doesn’t have to restrict your quality of life. If you or a loved one is interested in stem cell therapy for lung disease, contact us at the Lung Institute to learn more or call (800) 729-3065 today.