By Phoebe Brown | Staff Writer
Typically, the holiday season brings family and friends together for many celebrations of love, joy and gratitude. However, for someone who has lung disease, the holidays can seem daunting. Between traveling, cooking and eating, someone could easily become fatigued. For people with lung disease, that fatigue could make breathing a difficult task. One way to avoid this excessive exhaustion is to use moderation when eating. With so many choices of savory or sweet, it can be difficult to practice self-control. While it is fine to indulge in the holiday fanfare, company and food, using moderation along with other alternative treatment options can help people with lung disease enjoy the holidays as well as improve their overall quality of life.
There are many triggers which can cause symptom flare-ups, such as intense environments, air pollution and pollen, chemical irritants, allergens, overexertion and overeating. While some of these symptom-
causing triggers are uncontrollable, some of them are manageable. For example, staying inside when the air quality is poor due to pollens, allergens or other irritants can help with lung function. Similarly, over-eating or eating foods that cause gas or bloating can make breathing uncomfortable, so even during the holiday season, it is important to keep moderation in mind.
It might seem like common sense but taking time to enjoy the meal and the company at the table could help someone feel satisfied instead of overfull. Drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, such as water, and eating a healthy snack before the meal can help control hunger and can help people meet their hydration needs. Sometimes people enjoy helping out in the kitchen to stay busy and keep an active mind. When it is time to eat, foods that generally do not cause unnecessary gas or bloating and eating smaller portions could help keep pressure from building in the stomach, especially in the case of someone who is short of breath. There’s no need to avoid sweet treats, but it is important to try eating smaller portions. Not only can the rich desserts be filling, but they can also make someone gain weight quickly. Extra pounds could cause extra pressure, which in turn could cause difficulty breathing.
Today, for those suffering from debilitating lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there are options available to improve quality of life, such as diet and moderation. A clinic in the United States, the Lung Institute, states they have helped lung disease sufferers by offering an additional treatment option in the form of stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy is a minimally-invasive, outpatient treatment that harnesses the natural healing ability of the stem cells that already exist in the body. Stem cells are harvested from the patient’s own fat, blood or bone marrow, separated, and reintroduced into the body. Stem cells naturally fight infection and disease by repairing damaged tissue with new, healthy tissue. This is a very slow moving process, but stem cell therapy has the potential to expedite the natural healing process for those with certain progressive diseases, such as lung diseases.
People with lung disease have various options to help them take their health into their own hands, such as using an alternative treatment like stem cell therapy along with diet and moderation. By controlling the factors that exacerbate their symptoms and by taking action to improve their lung function, people with lung disease can enjoy the holidays and improve their quality of life.
If you or a loved one suffer from a chronic lung disease, the specialists at the Lung Institute may be able to help. You can contact the Lung Institute at (800) 921-4631 or visit lunginstitute.com/health to find out if you qualify for these new treatments.