COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the third leading cause of death in American. According to the World Health Organization, it shares fourth and fifth places (with HIV-AIDS) as the cause of death worldwide. The disease is marked by significant lung damage, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and a significant amount of mucous, and is primarily caused by smoking.
Unfortunately for the masses who suffer from this disease, it’s progressive, meaning it gets worse with time. Most people with COPD turn to traditional treatments like drugs with long-listed side effects, completely unaware of natural solutions that may help ease symptoms without causing additional stress or pain.
Here are some of those preventative and treatment tips.
- 1. Quit Smoking – This is a no-brainer; smoking with COPD certainly won’t make things any easier, and it could negate any other changes you make in your life. Written on MedLinePlus, “Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. The more a person smokes, the more likely that person will develop COPD. However, some people smoke for years and never get COPD.” Find help to kick the habit for good; you’ll be amazed at what happens when you quit smoking.
- 2. Improve Air Quality – The air quality where you spend most of your time can easily be improved by keeping humidity low and your home well-ventilated. Rid the house of any signs of mold or mildew and ensure all appliances are vented to the outside. Exhaust fans, dehumidifiers, and fans in general are all wise investments to help ease your COPD.
- 3. Reduce Salt Intake – The more salt you consume, the more water you retain, and with retained water comes greater breathing difficulties. Become a label-reader and avoid high-salt foods or adding table salt to your plate.
- 4. Limit Contact with Irritants – Household cleaners, grooming products, air fresheners, and even pets can worsen the symptoms of your COPD. Opt for natural home cleaning products (like those made with vinegar or baking soda) and look for products without heavy perfumes. Also, if you have a pet, invest in a good vacuum and bathe them frequently to control dander in your home.
- 5. Add Vitamin D to Your Daily Regiment – While there are mixed reviews of many supplements and their effects on COPD, vitamin D has received some positive feedback. In a study from Belgium scientists, they found that vitamin D levels are often low in COPD patients and vitamin D supplementation can help increase respiratory muscle strength. So, get more sunshine and add a high quality D3 supplement in the winter months.
Managing COPD is a lifelong affair; lifestyle changes are the primary key to reducing the severity of your symptoms. Though you may always struggle with the effects of this damaging disease, it doesn’t mean you are helpless in your own treatment.