Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (abbreviated as COPD) is the general name of various lung diseases, which include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive airway disease. The condition is mainly manifested by increased breathlessness, persistent cough containing sputum, chest infections and wheezing.
COPD is mainly caused by smoking. Individuals who smoke are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Cigarettes contains irritants, which cause lung inflammation that results in scarring. With time, the inflammation causes irreparable damage to the lungs. The wall of air passages may thicken while mucus production increases. This causes severe damage to the air sacs. The lungs also lose their elasticity. This is what causes breathlessness, phlegm and frequent coughing.
Rarer forms of COPD are caused by air pollution, dust, fumes, and genetic disorders.
Proper Management of COPD
In as much as the damage caused by the disease is irreparable, you can still live a healthy life after diagnosis. This is done by slowing down COPD’s progression. More often than less, treatment involves relieving common symptoms through the use of prescription drugs for COPD.
The disease will obviously slow your life down. However, you must understand that there are a number of interventions that can be used to reduce its effect. This will obviously force you to make adjustments to your lifestyle.
Generally, the goal of managing COPD is to enhance a patient’s quality of life and functional status. This can only be achieved through the preservation of normal lung function, the improvement of symptoms, and the prevention of any recurrences. At the moment, lung transplants are the only known treatment for COPD.
Foods That Are Good for COPD
You need to feed on a proper COPD diet to stem the deterioration of your health. In this regard, you must eat foods that are good for COPD. This can only be done through the creation of a personal diet regimen, which should be followed to the letter.
COPD patients are generally advised to eat low-fat proteins, which include poultry, fish and lean meat. You also need to improve your digestion by incorporating complex carbohydrates in your diet. These include bran, whole grain bread, lentils, beans and brown rice. These foods have a high fiber content.
Vegetables and fruits are similarly important to those suffering from COPD. Fresh fruits and veggies in particular, contain essential minerals, vitamins and a high fiber content. These elements not only improve the body’s health, but also help it fight common COPD symptoms. Potassium-rich foods such as bananas, avocado, oranges, tomatoes, beets and potatoes are important, more so if you are on diuretic medication.
Sticking to the recommended COPD diet can go a long way in improving your body’s immunity. It also gives it the ability to fight off common infections that may result from COPD.
Foods That Are Bad for COPD
Certain types of food ought to be avoided in order for COPD treatment to be effective. Foods that have little nutritional value and those that contain high fat levels should be avoided totally. Those that cause common digestive disorders such as bloating should also be shunned.
Salty foods enhance water retention in the body. This is dangerous for those who have COPD since their bodies need to lose as much water as possible. High fluid levels in the body exerts a lot of weight on the lungs. This causes breathing difficulties.
Dairy products are categorized among food that are bad for COPD. All dairy products contain casomophin, which increases mucus production in the body. You should therefore limit or avoid the consumption of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, butter, buttermilk and ice cream.
Fried foods are also not good for COPD. Besides bloating and gas, they are not good for your heart and can thus cause you further problems. They should therefore be avoided.
Carbonated drinks also increase gas levels in the stomach, which is unhealthy for COPD patients. Such beverages contribute to body dehydration. In line with this, you should avoid beer, sparkling water, wines and cedar, and carbonated soft drinks such as soda.
Food products that contain sulfites should also be shunned. Sulfite is a component added to processed foods and drinks to enhance their shelf life. It causes bronchial tubes to narrow, thus compounding your respiratory problems.
Latest Prescription Treatment Options
In as much as the available prescription drugs for COPD do not treat the condition completely, they greatly alleviate the symptoms. This enhances your quality of life. The medications are not offered to provide cure. They are mainly administered to open up closed airways, reduce airway inflammation, and fight any bacterial infections.
The following are some of the latest prescription treatment options for COPD:
These are medications provided by physicians to widen the airways. This makes it easier to breathe. In most cases, an inhaled bronchodilator is recommended due to its effectiveness. The medication is taken using devices such as nebulizers, metered dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers.
Common bronchodilators used in the treatment of COPD include anticholinergic bronchodilators, short-acting beta-agonists and methylxanthines.
These are among the most popular medications for COPD. They are used to reduce airway inflammation. In most cases, inhaled corticosteroids are prescribed to patients whose symptoms cannot be controlled through the use of bronchodilators only.
This is one of the latest prescription treatment options available for COPD. This is basically a pill, which inhibits an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase type 4. Daliresp is particularly effective on COPD patients who have chronic bronchitis.
The world of medicine never stops. While there are tried-and-true treatments for any ailment, researchers and companies are always looking to new and improved treatments. It is no different with COPD.
The following are some of the most promising treatments on the horizon for COPD.
A lot of researches are touting broccoli extract as the next big breakthrough in COPD treatment. Scientists have found that an antioxidant compound in broccoli could help protect the lungs from infections. It essentially reverses the damage done to underlying tissue. If the use of broccoli extract proves to be effective, your lungs will be far less likely to develop excessive inflammation. Although this new COPD treatment has yet to be officially approved by the FDA, clinical trials are already underway. Because broccoli extract is considered to be a natural treatment, side effects will likely be minimal.
While inhalers have long been used to treat COPD, a new triple-combination inhaler called Trelegy Ellipta has given sufferers new hope. It essentially combines three medications in one. This means patients stand to save a lot of extra money. Most importantly, research shows that this new inhaler can dramatically reduce the seriousness COPD. There are a few potential side effects to using Trelegy Elliptar, including back pain and headaches.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy is thought to have a bright future. Although this new treatment will not be able to completely cure the disease, it may significantly slow the progression of COPD. Men who have COPD tend to have lower levels of testosterone. Traditional steroid-based medications often contribute to this issue. According to researchers, COPD sufferers who receive testosterone replacement therapy are less likely to be hospitalized due to complications. However, the key to success is to begin treatment as early as possible.
COPD and Smoking
Smoking is what causes the disease in the first place. Holding onto the habit only aggravates the condition. Quitting this habit altogether is therefore the most effective way of managing COPD. Maintaining a smoking habit only hastens the progression of the disease, which puts you in a more perilous state.
Quitting smoking greatly prevents the deterioration of your lung function. It also reduces common COPD symptoms such as persistent cough. In addition, it improves your quality of life.
Many COPD patients find it had to quit smoking. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you should ask your physician to provide you with nicotine replacement products, which do not aggravate the condition.
Managing Stable COPD
The general approach in the management of stable COPD is often characterized by an increase in treatment efforts. This however depend on how severe the disease is. If you are suffering from COPD, you need health education. This will help you cope with the disease in a better way. Health education similarly helps you accomplish certain goals, such as smoking cessation. The role of prescription drugs for COPD is to alleviate pain and complications while increasing lung function.
The available medications may either be offered in an as-needed manner, or on a regular basis to manage COPD symptoms. To improve their resistance to symptoms of the disease, patients should incorporate exercise training programs in their lifestyles. Oxygen needs to be administered to patients who have chronic respiratory disorders because it increases their chances of survival. It is also important to avoid exposure to risk factors such as smoke and dust, which may worsen the situation. Practical and social counselling is also advisable because it provides a patient with necessary support during the course of treatment.