Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly referred to as COPD, is a group of lung diseases that over time makes it hard to breathe. Approximately 30 million people in the United States have COPD and almost half don’t they have it.
The most common of these diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many have both conditions.
Emphysema slowly destroys air sacs (Aveoli) in your lungs, which interferes with outward air flow. The lungs can’t absorb oxygen as well, so you get less oxygen in your blood. Damaged alveoli can make your lungs stretch out and lose their springiness. Air gets trapped in your lungs and you cannot breathe it out, so you feel short of breath.
Bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which allows mucus to build up. Hair-like fibers called cilia line your bronchial tubes and help move mucus out. When you have chronic bronchitis, you lose your cilia. This makes it harder to get rid of mucus, which makes you cough more, which creates more mucus.
Some people who have asthma can develop COPD as it is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Chronic irritation of the bronchial airways and lungs often increases colds or other respiratory infections such as the flu, or pneumonia.
Symptoms of COPD include:
- An ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus; often referred to as a smoker's cough.
- Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
- Wheezing or a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
- Chest tightness
The severity of symptoms will depend on how much lung damage has occurred. Untreated, COPD can lead to a faster progression of disease, heart problems, and worsening respiratory infections.
Increased mucus production in the lungs heightens COPD symptoms and slows the ability of the airways to heal.
Mucus formation is our body’s way of preventing foreign particles such as allergens, like dust or mold, as well as infectious bacteria, viruses, or yeast from invading the lungs. It does this by getting them stuck in sticky surface.
However, when the problem is not getting solved, a drastic increase in mucus production can get trapped in the respiratory system, which can lead to viral or bacterial pneumonia.
To rectify bronchial congestion, it is imperative to eliminate dairy, soy, or wheat products from the diet as they are mucus producing. This includes Boost or Ensure which are often prescribed by medical doctors and nutritionists. If you can, adding heat-based spices to foods like soup or beverages can help get the mucus thinning and draining includes hot pepper, horse radish and ginger.
The essential oils Eucalyptus or Peppermint used either topically or inhaled helps to open the airways.
An old home recipe called “Onion Honey Syrup” has been helping people for generations. Take 1 small yellow or white onion and chop up finely. Then add 1 tablespoon of raw honey mix up and let set over night, strain in the morning, and take 1 tsp of mixture every 3 hours. (Not recommended for Diabetics).
Elderberry Olive Leaf cough syrup (Woodstock Herbals) helps to open up the airways, decrease mucus production and helps improve immune system function, take 1 tsp every 2-3 hours or as needed
OregaResp (North American Herb and Spice) is the strongest of all the wild spice formulas. It contains desiccated pure spice oils of the incomparable P73 Wild oregano oil, plus Wild sage oil, and remote-source cumin and cinnamon. It is an effective and potent formula due to low-temperature desiccation and a state-of-the art drying technique that concentrates the oils so much that one capsule is equivalent to fifty drops of oregano oil. Take 1 capsule 2 x day.
Clear Lungs (Ridge Crest Herbals) is a synergistic blend of Chinese herbs that help the body maintain thorough and favorable respiratory-health functions. In particular it helps to decrease mucus production. Take 1- 2 caps 2-3 x a day.
We have found with our patients taking Oregaresp and Clear Lungs together the most effective way to improve COPD symptoms.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is extremely important to help you learn how to breathe easier and improve your quality of life. It includes breathing retraining, exercise training, education, and counseling.
Regular exercise, especially aerobic has many benefits. With the guidance of a pulmonary physical therapist, you can:
- Improve your circulation and help the body better use oxygen
- Improve your COPD symptoms
- Build energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath
- Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
To make an appointment (in-office or via telephone) at the Tree of Life Wellness Center call 508-336-4242! 1460 Fall River Ave. #6, Seekonk, MA, 02771
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center Inc.
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