COPD treatment primarily focuses on preventing further deterioration of lung function, alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life. In this section of our site, we will explore various treatments available for COPD sufferers, new treatments on the horizon and which stages of COPD the treatments are most suited to.
Some of the suggested lifestyle changes and treatments are:
Quit Smoking: Smokers having COPD must immediately stop smoking. It helps keep the disease from getting worse.
Medications: Physicians prescribe some basic medication groups in order to treat symptoms as well as complications. Some of the following medications are advised to be taken regularly, whereas some others as required.
Bronchodilators – Usually, they come in the form of inhalers and they serve to relax the muscles surrounding the airways. These medications relieve coughing as well as shortness of breath. Based on the severity of the disease, the patient may be advised to use a short-acting bronchodilator prior to doing activities or one that is long acting for use on a daily basis. Sometimes, a patient is advised use both.
Inhaled Steroids: Corticosteroid medications used in COPD treatment help to relieve inflammation of the patient’s airways, making breathing easier. This medication is usually prescribed for patients with moderate to severe COPD.
Antibiotics: These medications are to be used only when required. They fight bacterial infections of the respiratory system such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis and influenza. These infections tend to aggravate the symptoms of COPD.
Therapy: Some of the therapies used for COPD treatment include oxygen therapy and the pulmonary rehabilitation program. If the oxygen saturation in the patient’s blood is less, he/she may be advised to use a device which is capable of delivering oxygen into his/her lungs. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs that combine education with exercise, nutrition advice, training and counseling serve to greatly enhance the efficiency of the patient’s cardiovascular system.
Surgery: Surgery is recommended for those with some types of severe emphysema and who are not benefited because of mediations. Some of the surgeries carried out include lung volume reduction surgery and lung transplantation. Lung volume reduction involves removal of small wedges of lung tissues that are damaged. This creates additional space in the lungs and the remaining tissues and the diaphragm function more efficiently. Lung transplantation as an option may be considered for people with very severe emphysema.
COPD Treatment – Cure Using Stem Cell Therapy
There was no cure for COPD in the past and treatment involved just management of symptoms. However, researchers are now turning to stem cell therapy as a cure for COPD. In this treatment method, stem cells extracted from the body of the patient are cultured to form lung tissue cells and are placed back in the body to help regenerate new tissue. Though the therapy is still new, it has the potential to offer a cure that lasts.
Diet for Patients with COPD
Diet also plays a part in COPD treatment. People with COPD may burn 10 times more calories for breathing than a normal healthy person. Obesity can increase the strain on heart and lungs. According to American Dietetic Association experts, small but frequent meals will help to increase the calorie intake. Shortness of breath happens generally after a heavy meal. Patients can have cheese, crackers, freshly washed vegetables and fruits. Carnation Instant Breakfast, low-fat milk, or Ensure (a nutrition supplement) can provide energy. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, olive oil and avocados are helpful. Additionally, foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin C (Example: sweet potatoes, nuts and red bell peppers) are also essential.
COPD Treatment – Recommended Exercises
Three basic types of exercises are recommended as part of COPD Treatment for patients. These are:
Stretching: These exercises help to get the muscles ready for activity and prevent injury as well as muscle strain. Doing stretch exercises on a regular basis increases flexibility and the range of motion.
Aerobics: This type of exercise calls for the use of large muscle groups and physical activity. They strengthen both the heart and the lungs, and the ability of the body to use oxygen improves. Walking, jumping rope, jogging, cycling, skiing, rowing, skating, etc., are all aerobic exercises.
Strengthening: These exercise repeatedly contract muscles till they become tired. Upper body strengthening exercises are specifically good for people with COPD.
Ideally, 30 minutes of exercise three to four days in a week will keep the muscles toned. Exercise sessions should always include a warm up, conditioning and cool down phases.
COPD Treatment – Natural Remedies
Some of the natural remedies suggested as part of COPD Treatment include the following:
Bromelain: Use of this supplement made from pineapple reduces inflammation. The bromelain dosage ranges from 80 to 500 milligrams per day.
Coenzyme Q10: This powerful antioxidant may be useful as a natural remedy as it helps increase cell activity and decrease inflammation.
L-Carnitine: Supplements contusing L-Carnitine strengthen muscles and improve endurance.
N-acetylcysteine: This is an antioxidant that helps to break down mucus and thus prevent clogging of lungs.
Vitamins: Studies have shown that the worsening of the pulmonary function is due to low levels of vitamin A, C, and E.
Vitamin D: Osteoporosis is considered to be dangerous for people with COPD. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation to stave off osteoporosis can also be helpful for COPD patients.
The above is just a summary of various treatments and pending treatments for COPD sufferers. To explore these areas in more detail, click on any of the links below.
COPD Treatment – Further Reading
COPD and Oxygen
COPD and oxygen therapy will increase the pure oxygen amount every time the person breaths, hence, assisting the lungs to absorb more oxygen and share to other organs.
The ideal COPD diet includes foods which help manage both the condition itself and other negative general health effects from lifestyle changes that go with it.
There are no COPD cures as yet and the damage caused to the airways cannot be reversed. Lifestyle changes and treatments can help a patient to feel better, stay active and slow down the progress of the condition. However, research studies being carried out in the field of stem cell therapy are showing promising results.
These COPD medications are commonly prescribed for COPD sufferers. Learning all you can with regard to the latest treatments is vital to COPD management.
Here are some COPD Exercises that may help you to cope. One of the distressing things about COPD is finding it difficult to breathe. These breathing techniques that will allow you to get enough air without exhausting yourself.