Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a particularly nasty lung condition that escalates in stages amongst those with emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis.
Tragically, emphysema slowly destroys the air sacs in your lungs, which ultimately interferes with your outward air flow capacity. Bronchitis on the other hand, causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes. The narrowing allows mucus to build up causing congestion.
When COPD is diagnosed in addition to a pre-existent condition such as emphysema or bronchitis, breathing can become almost impossible. Symptoms may be mild at first, beginning with a cough, some congestion and wheezing. Regular medical checkups are absolutely necessary as you can easily dismiss these symptoms at first as having a simple cold
- mild shortness of breath, especially after exercise
- mild but chronic cough
- needing to clear your throat often, especially upon waking
- shortness of breath after mild exercise such as walking up a flight of stairs
- tightness in the chest
- chronic cough, which may or may not produce mucus
- Chronic chest congestion
- Contracting frequent colds or other respiratory infections
- reduced energy
- Chronic fatigue
- swelling in the lower extremities such as feet, ankles and legs
- Decreased appetite
- bluish or gray fingernails and lips due to low oxygen levels in your blood
- trouble catching your breath
- confusion or faintness due to decreased oxygen levels to the brain
- racing heart beat
Smoking is the number one cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is most commonly diagnosed in patients over the age of 40. You can also develop COPD if you’re exposed to toxic fumes from chemicals or asbestos in the workplace. Long-term exposure to air pollution and inhaling dust has also been known to cause COPD among those with allergies.
Although COPD is considered to be a chronic condition, it can be managed and treated in a number of different ways to improve your quality of life. The most common forms of treatment are doctor prescribed bronchodilators to help relax muscles in the airways, gluco-corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation, and at later stages oxygen therapy is common. Surgery is usually the last form of treatment available and is often needed to remove large air sacs from the lungs, or in extreme cases a full lung transplant.
To lower the risk of contracting additional respiratory infections, your doctor will likely add vaccinations to your treatment plan. A yearly flu shot, pneumococcal vaccine, and possibly a tetanus booster helps protect the lungs from damage against infections.
Although there is no cure currently for COPD, alternative treatments do exist that can help to increase lung air capacity and regulate breathing. Environmental treatments such as the Saltair home salt therapy device have been shown to be very effective in easing COPD symptoms.
Saltair works by releasing tiny microscopic particles of salt into the air over a 7-8 hour period. As the salt is inhaled, the inflammation in the bronchial tubes eases allowing for clear breathing. These inhalable particles of salt help clear the mucus, reduce inflammation, and naturally boost your respiratory immune system over time. Home salt therapy can act not only to treat the common symptoms and causes of COPD, but can also act as a preventative agent in your environment by naturally cleansing the air.