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COPD Treatments: Medications, Natural Remedies and Lifestyle

What Does COPD Look Like
Years of smoking cause damage to the lungs and this damage can lead to COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  More than 16 million were diagnosed with COPD in the year 2000 and 2.74 million died.  You can get COPD from secondary smoking also.  COPD encompasses two things -- chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  Plain and simple, if you do not quit smoking, you cannot get better and will most likely die.

People with Regrets - COPD a Curable Disease

We all have regrets and none more so then those who started smoking at an early age to look "cool."  My father started smoking at an early age while he was in the army, but when he saw the damage it was doing to his health, he gave it up.  Some 30 years later though, those previous smoking habits would lead to his death.  He smoked for 20 years and the damage it did to his lungs remained with him till his death.  He would drown in his own bodily fluids and there was nothing anyone could do.   

My sister, Julie had COPD and she got the disease from her husband who is a heavy smoker and who has refused to give up smoking, even if it means his death. He has smoked all of his life and he has the feeling he is invincible and although he only smokes outside, the life he leads with constantly near death experiences and one heart attack are so dramatic.  My sister decided the only way to save her life was with gastric bi-pass surgery.  So she did the surgery and lost 100 pounds. She needed a full body cosmetic surgery to remove the excess skin that was sagging, but unlike my father Julie is alive and has recovered completely from COPD with a healthy diet, loss of 100 pounds and a regular exercise program.  

Julie realizes that unless she keeps up this lifestyle that she will have no chance for survival and the huge desire to live has provided her with incentive enough to change the way she was heading.  She also realizes that Don must change or one day she will be burying him, just like we did dad.

What is COPD?

COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. According to WHO COPD will be the 3rd leading cause of death by the year 2020 due to the expected increase of people smoking. COPD results in an obstruction of the airways leading to the lungs. As a result, COPD causes severe shortness of breath (dyspnea). COPD is usually a disease that results from years of smoking. This respiratory illness is aggravated by second-hand smoke and environmental toxins like silica and cadmium. This potentially fatal disease shows promising results with the use of a healthy diet and natural supplements.

According to AARC.org, "In technical terms, COPD is a slowly progressive disease that is characterized by a decrease in the ability of the lungs to maintain the body's oxygen supply and remove carbon dioxide.[8] As a result of this decrease in lung function, COPD patients alter their lifestyles because they become short of breath after minimal exertion. For example, instead of climbing a flight of stairs COPD patients take the elevator. Physical activities also take longer to complete. Lawn mowing that a COPD patient might have finished in 40 minutes only a year ago may now take an hour to do."

Symptoms of COPD

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, "At first, COPD may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, symptoms usually become more severe. Common signs and symptoms of COPD include:"
  • An ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus (often called "smoker's cough")
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
  • Chest tightness
You may be susceptible to colds and flu often.  In other words, your immune system is shot or not in the best condition.

Current COPD Treatments Available

Current COPD treatments will include slowing the accelerated decline in lung function; relieving COPD symptoms, such as shortness of breath and cough; improving lung function; decreasing exacerbations; and improving ones quality of life.  Your doctor will have you do things such as change your diet, start walking daily and using a bronchodilator.  

The first thing you will have to do is cease to smoke.  As stated above you cannot expect to recover if you do not.  In essence a person who refuses to give up smoking is committing suicide.  

No one expects you to quit all at once, but your life is in danger and you must begin to quit whether slowly or all at once.  I knew a woman who fasted every day for 30 days.  She was completely cured of smoking by the end of the 30 days.  She was convinced that living was much more important than smoking.

Diet and Healthy Lifestyle Changes

A plant-based diet, like the one Dr. Joel Furhman recommends, is instrumental in helping COPD sufferers recover. The plant-based diet rids the body of foods that create mucus, like milk and cheese. The diet promotes the consumption of organic fruits and vegetables. Many natural hygienists also recommend avoiding animal products, including eggs. Many studies indicate that adding broccoli to the diet greatly improves the symptoms of COPD patients.

Omega-3 oils are also beneficial to COPD patients. Omega-3 oils are found in fish oil supplements and in foods like fish, flax seeds and walnuts. "Fatty" fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Natural remedies and a strict diet can improve COPD symptoms.

7 Tips to Avoid Shortness of Breath While Eating:

http://copd.about.com/od/livingwithcopd/tp/Shortness-of-Breath---Eati...


There was a study done on the use of vitamin E supplementation and found that it protected the lungs and thus prevented and treated COPD. Recommended dosage for vitamin E is 300 to 800 IU/day.  Foods that contain vitamin E are:
  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Kiwi
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Vegetable and Seed/Nut Oils (sunflower oil, almond oil, olive oil, palm oil, peanut oil, etc.)
Besides diet, exercise is important.  Whether you walk around your block, use an exercise bicycle or jump on a mini-trampoline, it is imperative to move. 
Natural Herbs and Spices that Treat COPD
1. Vitamin C and Magnesium - Research conducted at the University of Maryland revealed that Vitamin C and Magnesium aid in the treatment of COPD. People with COPD often have low levels of magnesium due to poor nutrition. Magnesium promotes healthy lung function, thereby making it vital for COPD patients.

2. NAC and Calcium AEP - NAC and Calcium AEP are two supplements that are recommended.

3. Carnitine and CQ10 - Research has also revealed that supplements like Carnitine and CQ10 are beneficial for COPD patients, who experienced improved breathing and fewer COPD symptoms.

Herbal Treatments for COPD:

1. Olive leaf - Olive leaf is one herb that eases symptoms of COPD. Olive leaf reduces inflammation and aids in the treatment of COPD-related infection. Olive leaf is a natural antibiotic with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

2. Serrapeptase - Research suggests that Serrapeptase is also helpful. There are many success stories using this miracle natural enzyme. According to Robert Redfern (www.serrapeptase.info), "Serrapeptase is a naturally occurring, physiological agent with no inhibitory effects on prostaglandins and is devoid of gastrointestinal side effects."

3. Cayenne - Cayenne is used because it has the ability to increase circulation and improve breathing. A recipe for blood clearance: 1 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey. Drink this slowly throughout the day.

4. Other herbs that help ease COPD symptoms include astragalus, enchinacea, ginseng, quercetin, thyme, milk thistle, eucalyptus and lobelia.


Nigella Sativa and COPD
Nigella sativa has been used to treat COPD satisfactorily and heal lung diseases.  One man used some mullein tea with black cumin daily and found this helped him.  In my opinion you need to do more than just to drank one cup of tea daily. I have written about my full recommendations in this article: Nigella Sativa and COPD.

Medicines Prescribed for COPD
Bronchodilators are normally prescribed by doctors to be used through inhalers. Depending on your condition, your doctor will prescribe either long acting (12 hours or more) or short acting bronchodilators (4 - 6 hours).  Short term medicines are used as needed when symptoms arise.  As your disease progresses and symptoms increase, long term inhalers will be needed more often.

Besides bronchodilators your doctor may prescribe inhaled Glucocorticosteroids (Steroids).  Steroids will impair the immune system when long term use is prescribed, so avoid this therapy unless absolutely necessary.  Olive leaf has been used to treat COPD symptoms satisfactorily avoiding the use of steroids in many cases.  Suggested dosage is 21 capsules the first day and 9 capsules each day afterwards, divided in 3 equal parts. (This is dried leaf, not supplements).

Antibiotics may also be prescribed if you have acute bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, including sinusitis, acute bronchitis and some types of pneumonia.
 
Flu Vaccines
Flu vaccines should be avoided like the bubonic plague. Vaccines have been proven to cause more problems, such as Multiple Sclerosis than benefits every seen.  Prolonged use of vaccines have been studied and the results are devastating. Studies show that only 1.5 people out of 100 adults actually prevent the flu using a flu vaccine.

Oxygen therapy is another treatment used to help the COPD patient cope with his symptoms of increased breathing problems.  As symptoms increase continual use of oxygen may be necessary. This therapy is given thorough nasal prongs or a mask. 

Surgery

Surgery is used in some severe COPD cases.  COPD treatments may include the removal of an infected lung, but is used as a last resort.  Surgery is mainly used for people suffering with emphysema.  Before you get to this point in your disease, please attempt the natural remedies to cure and or treat your symptoms.  Once your COPD gets to the advanced stages, natural cures will not help.

In Conclusion

COPD is a life threatening disease and early detection and healing is imperative.  It is estimated that 30 million people in the US have COPD, but only 16 million have been diagnosed.  Many have emotional avoidance and attributing these symptoms to simply having a cold or a flu.  If you have any of the symptoms listed above, plan to see a doctor at  your earliest convenience.

Resources:
AARC
Thorax
Natural Society