Some millions of people around the world suffer from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
It's essential to keep breathing healthy when living with this life-threatening condition.
Natural remedies for COPD can help you breathe easier.
There are a lot of products on the market today that claim to help treat COPD symptoms.
Some are herbal remedies; others are non-herbal solutions.
If you're struggling to find relief for your COPD symptoms, you may be considering using a natural remedy to treat your illness.
However, before you do, it's important to understand what COPD is and its symptoms so you can make an informed decision about treating your COPD with a natural remedy.
What is COPD
COPD is a respiratory condition that affects the lungs and airways and can make breathing difficult.
Cigarette smoke is the most common cause of COPD, but air pollution and occupational exposure to harmful substances can also cause the disease.
COPD symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, sputum production, and wheezing.
In addition, COPD can make it difficult to breathe to the point that it interferes with everyday life, making it challenging to stay active and healthy.
Symptoms of COPD
COPD symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Coughing up mucus or blood
The severity of these symptoms depends on the stage of the disease, which can vary from mild to severe.
If you have mild or moderate COPD symptoms, you may feel tired more often, and experience increased shortness of breath during activity or exercise.
In more advanced disease stages, you may struggle to exercise or feel fatigued all the time due to shortness of breath.
Many people with COPD also have coughing fits that make it difficult to catch their breath or sleep through the night.
Natural Remedies For COPD
#1 Quite Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of COPD deaths around the world.
COPD is not reversible, but quitting smoking can slow its progression and reduce the severity of symptoms.
People who quit smoking before age 40 can cut their risk of dying from COPD in half.
However, quitting can be challenging and requires determination and persistence.
For those having trouble quitting smoking, there are programs available at hospitals and other health facilities to help patients kick the habit for good.
#2 Improve Air Quality in Your Home
Improving the air quality in your living space can help reduce the number of flare-ups associated with your COPD symptoms.
Many people with COPD find their symptoms worse at home than in other places, such as work or the gym.
This is most likely because your home is probably full of pollutants and allergens, which can cause episodes of coughing and wheezing.
Some simple things you can do to improve your homes air quality are:
- Install a high-efficiency air filter in your home. A high-efficiency air filter can trap tiny particles like dust, mold spores, and pet dander that can trigger asthma attacks or aggravate COPD symptoms.
- Replace your air filter every 1-3 months or more often if your home experiences a lot of dust or pet dander.
- Clean your house regularly to eliminate dust and dirt that can trigger an asthma attack or worsen COPD.
- Vacuum at least once a week in areas where you spend a lot of time, such as your bedroom and living room.
Common irritants include:
- Pet dander
- Dust (especially from wood or chemicals)
- Dust and pollen can trigger an asthma attack in some people
- Strong odors like gasoline and bleach can irritate sensitive airways
- Strong cleaning chemicals can cause breathing problems in some people
- Weather changes can change the humidity in your home and cause breathing problems for some people with COPD
- Stress and anxiety can lead to breathing problems in people with asthma or COPD
#3 Manage Your Stress Levels
COPD and stress do not mix well together.
Stress can worsen symptoms of COPD like shortness of breath and lead to more-frequent flare-ups.
Stress can also lead to anxiety or depression, worsening your COPD symptoms.
But reducing stress and learning to manage it can help reduce the frequency of flare-ups and make it easier to keep your symptoms under control.
Self-care techniques can help you manage your stress.
For example, you can practice simple relaxation techniques, including yoga or meditation, or show some affection by spending time with a pet.
If you do suffer from stress, make sure your visit your Doctor immediately so they can better analyze your stress levels and may even be able to prescribe treatment if needed.
#4 Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are important for everyone, but they can benefit people with COPD.
It's helpful to have simple breathing exercises you can do at home, whether you're actively sick or trying to prevent illness.
Here are a few common ones you can try:
- Pursed-lip breathing: This technique involves placing your lips together tightly and breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pursed-lip breathing helps increase oxygen intake and relieve chest congestion and shortness of breath.
- Diaphragm breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing involves breathing from the belly instead of the chest. Diaphragmatic breathing requires using the diaphragm muscle to inhale and exhale fully and completely. To learn proper diaphragmatic breathing techniques, sit in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting in your lap or on a table in front of you. Take a slow deep breath in through the nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
- Pranayama: Pranayama is a yoga breathing exercise used to relax the body and mind and improve overall health and vitality. There are many styles of pranayama that you can choose.
#5 Stay Active and Physically Fit
Staying active and staying fit are significant parts of managing COPD successfully.
Being physically active may help slow the progression of COPD and make it easier for you to breathe.
Exercising regularly also enables you to maintain a healthy weight, which is essential because excess weight can aggravate COPD symptoms.
Try to exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week, and take frequent breaks if you're doing vigorous exercise like swimming or running.
For example, you can do 5 minutes of swimming, take a break of 10 minutes, do another 5 minutes of swimming, and so on.
Even daily walks are good for you physically and a great stress buster.
#6 Focus on Good Nutrition
Good nutrition is critical to maintaining the quality of life for people with COPD.
However, eating the right foods can sometimes be challenging with COPD.
Getting all the nutrients you need when living with COPD can be tricky, and your breathing is compromised.
In addition, many COPD patients experience loss of appetite, which can cause them to become malnourished (meaning they don't have enough nutrients), leading to poor energy and weight loss.
Eating the right foods is vital for maintaining your overall health and energy level and can help you breathe easier when you're living with COPD.
Your Doctor may also suggest taking supplements to help with your overall nutrition.
#7 Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body produces naturally when your skin is exposed to sunlight. In addition, certain foods naturally have vitamin D in them, including:
- Egg yolks,
- Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
- Fortified cereals
- Dairy products
Some research suggests that vitamin D may help prevent asthma and respiratory infections, reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke and even prevent cancer.
Furthermore, vitamin D may help prevent and treat osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Some research shows that vitamin D can even reduce inflammation of the airways.
Overall, vitamin D3 levels may be linked to COPD symptoms and severity, and a vitamin D deficiency may worsen your symptoms if you have COPD.
How is COPD Diagnosed?
Your Doctor will ask about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam to see if you might have COPD or another lung disease.
Blood tests can help your doctor determine if you have COPD or another illness that may be causing your symptoms.
Spirometry tests can show how well your lungs are working by measuring how much air you breathe and how fast you breathe it in.
Breathing tests can calculate how much air you can take in and how quickly you can exhale it.
If you can't breathe out as much air as you're taking in or if you can't exhale as soon as you inhale, you may have COPD or another lung disease.
How Does COPD Progress?
COPD is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time rather than getting better.
COPD has four stages; each stage brings new symptoms and challenges for the COPD sufferer.
In the first stage, the COPD sufferer experiences mild symptoms easily controlled with medication and exercise.
The second stage typically occurs after three to five years of living with COPD and is referred to as "moderate."
The symptoms this stage brings are more challenging to manage with medication and require lifestyle changes and alternative therapies to alleviate them.
The third is "severe." In this stage, the COPD sufferer experiences the most acute symptoms and is more susceptible to infections and lung damage.
The fourth and final stage of COPD is referred to as "very severe."
At this point, the COPD sufferer is on a ventilator and is in immediate danger of dying or becoming very sick if left untreated.
When To See The Doc
A person should see their Doctor if they have difficulty breathing or their symptoms are getting worse and advance to more acute symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath during exercise or while at rest
- Wheezing, or coughing up mucus on a regular basis
- Severe chronic cough that doesn't go away or gets worse over time
Likewise, you should seek immediate medical attention if you have chest pain while breathing.
To Sum it Up
In conclusion, COPD is a chronic disease that is permanent and incurable but can be effectively managed.
With the proper treatment, most people with COPD can live long and healthy lives, and many even live everyday and active life that put little to no pressure on their lungs.