COPD Treatment Options
COPD describes lung conditions associated with blockages of the airways. There are two main forms of COPD: chronic bronchitis, characterized by excessive cough, mucus and inflammation of the airways, and emphysema, where the walls of the lungs become less elastic.
Although there is no cure for COPD, there are a few treatment options that can help control the symptoms.
1. Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
The treatment of COPD starts with a healthy lifestyle.
First and foremost, stop smoking if you haven’t already. This is most important thing you can do to prevent or slow the progression of COPD. The benefits of quitting smoking go way beyond healthier lungs. Within 24 hours of your last cigarette, mucus and smoking debris start to be eliminated from your lungs and you will breathe easier. After two days your sense of smell and taste will improve significantly and within three months your lungs and heart will work much better as circulation and lung function improves, and you will experience less cough and wheezing.
A healthy diet is also important. COPD sufferers often lack essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. COPD is linked with deficiency of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc. These nutrient deficiencies contribute to the progression of COPD.
Adopt a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, lean meats and fish, as well as nuts and seeds. Avoid highly processed foods, which promote inflammation, excessive weight and have poor nutrient content. You should also consider taking nutrients in supplement form.
It’s also essential that you exercise regularly. You may experience some symptom aggravation during exercise, but staying as active as possible is essential to keep your lungs fit and healthy. Strengthening exercises build endurance and you will be able to breathe better.
ResourcesUniversity of Maryland Medical Center (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)NetDoctor.co.uk (What happens to your body once you quit smoking?)National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (What Is Oxygen Therapy?)University of Maryland Medical Center (Lung Volume Reduction Surgery)Mayo Clinic (Acupuncture)
COPD is progressive; this means many people with COPD eventually develop hypoxemia, which may result in the need to use oxygen.