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Do you have trouble breathing throughout the day? Does your chest feel heavy and you keep coughing incessantly? Chances are you have contracted COPD. Now, do not panic, for COPD too can be treated at home. Read on to know more about COPD and the remedies that can help you treat it at home.
COPD – An Overview:
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a term used for a number of lung disorders in which the respiratory system is permanently damaged. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common types of COPD disorders (1). Other disorders include cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and asthma. These are all problems that make it hard for patients to breathe properly. In conventional medicine, there is one solution that is used for the treatment of disorders that are related to COPD, and that is the usage of steroidal inhalers. However, the problem is that steroids can increase the risk of developing cancer when used for longer periods (2). They can also cause damage to normal tissues in the body.
The good news is that you can use natural remedies to treat COPD. They are a safe option that you may want to explore, after consulting with your health care provider. They are safe and do not have any harmful side effects, provided you take the proper dosage recommended by your physician.
Causes Of COPD:
When the lung tissue is damaged by external irritants, it causes COPD. Smoking is one of the main causes of this disease. This is because of the various chemicals and irritants that smokers inhale. These inhaled substances cause permanent damage to the airways in the lungs. COPD is also caused by exposure to second-hand smoke (3). Other common causes include repeated exposure to pollutants like exhaust smoke from automobiles, chemical fumes, and fine dust.
There are also other factors that contribute to COPD development. Age, genetics, the amount of cigarettes smoked, and how long one has been smoking, all these factors play a role in the severity of COPD.
How To Prevent COPD:
There are a number of ways to prevent COPD (4). First of all, it is important to stop smoking if you are a smoker. You should avoid inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke as well. Secondly, make sure there are no air pollutants in your office and home environment. Thirdly, if you feel you are suffering from a respiratory infection, consult a physician immediately so that COPD can be detected as early as possible. This could prevent or change the progress and course of the disease. Your doctor will recommend spirometry, which is a test that is used to measure lung function and detect COPD in people who suffer from breathing problems.
Symptoms Of COPD:
The symptoms of COPD include the following:
- Dyspnea (5), or shortness of breath that worsens even with light physical activity
- Cough, dry or with mucus
- Problems with catching one’s breath, especially after physical activity
- More than one respiratory infection
The symptoms of this disease take a time to develop. This is why many people do not realize that they have COPD.
Conventional COPD Treatments:
Although there is no cure for COPD, there are a few options available that can help in reducing the symptoms and preventing any complications that may arise. The most important step in treating the disease is to quit smoking cigarettes. You should also avoid irritants that affect the lungs as they can make your condition worse.
Your doctor may prescribe medications that include corticosteroids, bronchodilators or anti-cholinergic drugs. In very severe cases, you may also be prescribed supplementary oxygen. Oxygen is supplied through an oxygen concentrator or cylinder and administered to the patient with the help of a nasal tubing or mask.
In some cases, surgery is also recommended. Some of the tissue that is damaged is removed. Removal of this tissue benefits COPD patients as it helps the healthy tissue to function normally.
Home Remedies For COPD:
As you have just read, COPD does not yet have a cure. However, you can make changes in your lifestyle to manage the symptoms that you go through. Quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to pollutants and irritants and eating a healthy diet can help in treating the disease.
Many people are also trying out different home remedies to help them deal with COPD and its symptoms. These remedies are natural and safe, making them a better alternative to drugs prescribed by doctors. Here are the top remedies that you can use for the treatment of COPD:
This is a highly effective home remedy for different types of respiratory problems (6). It has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help in thinning the mucus and clearing the airways so that air can flow in and out without any difficulty. It also aids in reducing bronchial tube swelling and provides relief from cough. Your immunity is also boosted.
To make use of turmeric, take two teaspoons of ghee and heat it. Once that is done, remove it from the heat and add a heaped teaspoonful of turmeric powder and mix well. Next, mix it with a cup of hot milk and drink it.
This is another effective remedy for COPD as it has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antiseptic properties. These properties keep away the infection, prevent excess mucus formation, and unblock airways in the respiratory system (7). Inflammation of air sacs is also healed with the help of ginger. Ginger acts as an expectorant and stimulates the lungs. All you need to do is pound a small amount of ginger and boil it in a cup of water for about 2 minutes. Drain and sip. Drinking 3 to 4 cups every day can give you quick relief. You can also drink a teaspoon of ginger juice mixed with a teaspoon of honey 3 times daily to gain relief from COPD.
When it comes to natural healing, there is nothing like garlic. People have used it for hundreds of years as a natural cure for different ailments. It has antibacterial, antibiotic and antiviral properties(8). It inhibits the formation of mucus and also clears away mucus that has accumulated in the bronchial tubes. You also gain relief from chest pain. Garlic is also highly effective in cleansing and sterilizing the lungs by removing all impurities. Add garlic to your daily diet to gain its benefits for COPD treatment.
4. Black Tea:
Tannins and a number of other chemicals that are present in black tea boost immunity by removing bacteria and viruses. They also work wonders in clearing the respiratory tract. Black tea aids in the decongestion of airways as well as in expanding the air passages. This prevents breathing difficulties. Drinking 4 to 5 cups of black tea regularly will provide you with great relief from the symptoms that come with COPD.
5. Black Pepper:
Black pepper is a wonderful remedy for different types of ailments. Its high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it an effective home remedy for COPD. These properties make it helpful in reducing mucus and quickly clearing the airways. Take 2 teaspoons of ghee and heat it. Once you have turned off the heat, add a teaspoon of crushed peppercorns, and mix the hot mixture with a lump of sugar, or honey, if you prefer. Eat this concoction twice a day for relief from COPD symptoms.
6. Eucalyptus Oil:
This oil is well-known to be effective in providing relief from chest pain (9). It has numerous healing powers. Since it has high anti-inflammatory properties, it helps in the decongestion of the bronchial tubes as well as the airways. This means that you can breathe without any difficulty. You can use eucalyptus oil to treat COPD by rubbing it on your chest for about 15 minutes every day. You can also drop a small amount of the oil on your handkerchief so that you can inhale it. You will slowly get relief from breathlessness.
This is a herb that has many healing properties. It can be used as a home remedy for COPD. It has been used to provide relief from coughing that is caused by chronic and acute bronchitis as well as other conditions that affect the lungs. You can make it into a tea or syrup to gain relief from cough. You should consult an expert before you start using fennel as a home remedy for COPD.
According to The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, this is a herb that is frequently used to treat bronchitis and coughing as well as treat COPD symptoms. It can be used on its own as an extract, and comes in a powder form as well. Mullein is also added in herbal tonics that are used to treat cough. It acts as an expectorant and clears mucus and congestion in the lungs. Remember to consult your physician before starting this natural remedy.
9. Magnesium And Vitamin C:
Adding more magnesium and vitamin C to your diet can help in relieving the symptoms of COPD. People who suffer from this condition are often known to have low levels of magnesium in their body as they do not follow a nutritious diet. Magnesium and vitamin C help lungs function healthily, which is why they are important for people with COPD.
Cayenne is used for the treatment of COPD as it boosts circulation and helps in improving breathing. You can make a mixture with a cup of water, 2 teaspoons of honey, a tablespoon of apple vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne. You can drink this every day to gain relief from COPD symptoms and clear your blood.
11. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can help in treating COPD. Inflammation can be significantly reduced and other conditions like arthritis, high blood pressure and depression can be treated. You should consume more walnuts and fish to gain the benefits of this nutrient.
12. Healthy Foods:
Many doctors recommend a healthy, well-balanced diet to people who have COPD. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish and lean meat can help immensely in providing relief from the symptoms of COPD. You should talk to your physician or dietician about a healthy diet plan that gives you more calories if you have a hard time gaining weight. You may need to eat smaller meals more frequently and take vitamins and dietary supplements.
Experts recommend taking short walks as a remedy for COPD. This will help build up your respiratory system’s strength. Talk to your physician about how far you should walk. Once shortness of breath, wheezing and other COPD symptoms decrease, you can take longer walks. Physical activities can make the muscles that help you breathe stronger and improve your overall health as well.
14. Asian Ginseng:
This herbal remedy for COPD is used to support the immune system and promote overall health. Studies are being conducted on Asian ginseng to find out how it can be used to treat different diseases and health problems. Experts believe that it may be effective in treating patients who suffer from chronic lung infections. You should talk to your physician before using this remedy.
This is a herb that is used in Japan to treat asthma and bronchitis (11). According to research conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, asthmatic patients may have the ability to decrease corticosteroid doses that is required to control their condition. This herb is often mixed with licorice root, ginseng and other herbs to make a tonic that helps in controlling coughing. It is important to remember to consult your healthcare provider before you take this herbal tonic, to make sure it is a safe remedy for your condition.
Lifestyle And COPD:
As mentioned earlier, making changes in lifestyle can do a world of good when you suffer from COPD. You can improve the quality of your life and manage the symptoms of the disease. There may not be a cure yet, but you can prevent it from getting worse by leading a healthier lifestyle. You can lower the risk of developing other health complications and control the discomforts that come with COPD.
Important Points To Remember:
In a large number of cases, the symptoms that come with COPD slowly worsen after a long period. However, people who suffer from this disease can also have symptoms that become worse without a warning in a short span of time. If this is the case in your situation, you should call your doctor immediately.
Symptoms can worsen rapidly due to the flu, a cold or lung infection. When this occurs, catching your breath becomes next to impossible. If you experience sudden tightness in your chest, a change in your mucus, fever and more severe coughing, you should call your doctor. He will run tests and examine you to find out the cause behind the sudden onset of these severe symptoms.
You may be taking home remedies and experiencing relief with their help. However, when there are sudden occurrences of symptoms such as those mentioned above, you may be required to stay in a hospital so that all necessary tests can be conducted and proper treatment can be provided to you by a team of experienced professionals.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is extremely life-threatening (12), and it is vital to detect and treat it at the earliest stage possible. When it is detected early, you can use various natural home remedies to treat the disease and gain relief from the symptoms that come with it. Eating right, staying active and making healthy choices every day can go a long way in preventing COPD from getting worse. They also make living with the symptoms easier. Remember that once COPD is at the advanced stages, natural remedies will have no effect at all.
While home remedies are safe to treat different conditions, it is important to remember that you always need to talk to your physician before you start taking them. You need to be 100% sure that it is safe for you to use these remedies with your condition, before you start using them.
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Via : stylecraze