Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has grown in prevalence over the last decade and is now the third leading cause of death in America. When diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness, people tend to search for alternatives to traditional medicine. The quest for treatment options can leave a patient feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety and depression can exacerbate symptoms, creating a vicious cycle. Despite the grim outlook a COPD diagnosis can produce, alternative ways exist to treat not only the symptoms of COPD, but the disease itself.
Talk with someone when feeling anxious or depressed, whether it’s a friend or a professional. Enjoy favorite activities, and explore alternative forms of stress management like yoga, tai chi and meditation. These produce mental benefits as well as physical. Find reasons to laugh often. Maintaining a positive outlook can improve overall quality of life.
Choose activities that create a sense of accomplishment. For those who, for instance, love gardening but feel short of breath, a container garden could bring a goal within reach. If the pots are too heavy, a friend could help, and the results could be healthy, growing plants and a new gardening friend.
Consider a pulmonary rehabilitation class to address the disease head-on by improving lung capacity and blood oxygen levels. Rehab also involves nutrition. A good diet for someone with COPD includes iron-
rich foods, such as red meat and green, leafy vegetables that promote oxygenation of the blood.
There are many things people can do every day to stay a step ahead of COPD, but to treat the disease, rather than only the symptoms, alternative therapy using the patient’s own stem cells has shown potential. The same cells that repair a simple cut on the skin, properly harnessed, can promote healing in damaged lung tissue. Adult stem cells do this naturally, only not at a rate fast enough to keep up with degenerative lung disease.
One medical clinic, the Lung Institute, is using adult, or autologous, stem cells, harvested from patients’ blood or bone marrow, to boost the body’s natural healing process. The Lung Institute’s Jack Coleman, Jr., MD, recently released a white paper outlining a study showing that stem cell therapy in patients with lung diseases has the potential to improve pulmonary function and quality of life.
Dr. Coleman’s white paper, titled “Autologous Stem Cell Therapy and its Effects on COPD: A Pilot Study,” mentions that he tested approximately 100 patients with COPD. Within three months of therapy, 84 percent of patients found their quality of life improved, with an average improvement of 35 percent.
Coleman said in a press release, “COPD is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States, and we give our patients an alternative that doesn’t just mask the symptoms.”
People hear things like, “COPD is a chronic illness that is both progressive and terminal,” and hear that the traditional options all consist of prescription medications, supplemental oxygen and a highly invasive lung transplant. People are dissatisfied with this prognosis. With a rise in alternative options like stem cell therapy, revolutionary medical advancements to better address COPD could be just around the corner.
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.