EmphysemaWhat is Emphysema?

Emphysema is a condition that happens whenever the air sacs that are found at the ends of the bronchioles get destroyed. This is usually one of the factors that could lead to pulmonary disease.

Emphysema progresses gradually. As the condition worsens, more gaping holes are formed in the inner walls of the air sacs. Hence, the number of air sacs is greatly reduced, which prevents some of the oxygen from getting to the bloodstream. The small elastic fibers responsible for opening the airways that lead to the air sacs are also destroyed in the process, which makes it difficult for you whenever you breathe out.




What Causes Emphysema?

  • Smoking. This has been ascertained as the leading cause of emphysema. The chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke slowly destroy the elastic air sacs, and other parts of the lungs. This would include secondhand smoke. In fact, 80% of emphysema cases is caused by smoking.
  • Exposure to atmospheric pollutants. Aside from smoking, being exposed to harmful chemicals in the atmosphere can also cause emphysema. Some of these sources include aerosol sprays, exhaust fumes, and non-tobacco smoke.
  • Deficiency in Protein. Roughly 1 – 2 percent of people who suffer from emphysema have a deficiency of the Aat protein. This protein is the one responsible for protecting the lungs elastic structures. Smokers who lack the Aat protein are more likely to suffer from the condition starting at the age of 30 or 40.


Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Emphysema

Since emphysema is a condition that gradually progresses or worsens, the initial symptoms tend to be mind, but the condition continues to worsen with the passage of time.

  • Difficulty in breathing or breathlessness. Sometimes, this may occur as skipped breaths.
  • Tightness in the chest. Normally, if you find it hard to breathe, you would also be feeling chest tightness.
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight or loss of appetite
  • Swelling of feet, legs, or ankles


Remedies, Treatment, and Cure for Emphysema

There are various remedies for treating emphysema. Some of the remedies include making some lifestyle changes, and others would need some diet overhaul. The body sometimes lacks certain nutrients that could actually exacerbate the condition. Following these treatments could certainly alleviate emphysema.

Diet for Emphysema

  • Avoid trans fats and oils. These are usually found in processed and pre-packaged foods, and can trigger inflammation. These also compete with the good fats in the body that helps in keeping the lungs’ alveoli supple and function properly.
  • Steer clear from foods that you are sensitive to. Often, these foods consist of dairy from cows and wheat.
  • Avoid high fat foods if you are making excessive phlegm. Some of these foods include chocolate, full-fat cheese, eggs, milk, white bread, bananas, croissants and even soya products.
  • Also avoid barbecued and fried foods since they have high levels of damaging radicals.
  • Try to cut down the amount of red meat that you eat. If you really want to eat meat, make sure that you get rid of the fat first.
  • Sugary foods must also be avoided since they tend to suppress the immune function. This would include sugary drinks as well.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Those who consistently eat these glow foods are more less likely to be at risk for emphysema. Eat those that are rich in carotenes since these help in protecting the mucous membrane in the lungs. Mangoes, apricots, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, and red peppers are some rich sources of carotenes.
  • Vine-ripened tomatoes are also rich in lycopene and helps in supporting the lungs.
  • Choose organic foods anytime, like organic apples. This could help in keeping the lungs healthy.
  • Eat pineapple, apples, pears, grapes, cherries, garlic, and broccoli. These contain quercetin, which is a flavonoid that could protect the lungs from the adverse effects of cigarette smoke and pollutants.
  • Use olive oil for your salad dressings.
  • Eat foods that have high retinol content. This is usually found in kidney, liver, butter, and skimmed milk. Retinol is ideal for tissue healing. Remember to go organic.
  • Garlic and onion help in clearing the lungs and ward off infection.
  • Fenugreek or liquorice tea can help in soothing the lungs.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Don’t smoke. This is the most basic remedy that you can apply if you are suffering from emphysema. Remember that smoking is the leading cause of the condition and eliminating it from your daily activities could greatly help your condition.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. This could help in breaking up mucus that have collected in the lungs.
  • As much as possible, avoid pollutants in the air. This would include pesticides, dust, aerosol sprays, herbicides, fumes from exhausts and fuel. Also try to avoid barbecues and bonfires.
  • Stabilise liquid oxygen could help in re-alkalising the body and to get more oxygen in the system.
  • Be wary of going to places at high altitudes, as this could make it harder for you to breathe.
  • You can use an ionizer at home to lower dust levels.
  • Try to sing. This could help in increasing the lung capacity. Remember to take deep breaths regularly. This could help in increasing your lung capacity.
  • Go for environmentally-friendly cleaning products, as these do not contain harmful chemicals that you might accidentally breathe.

Exercise and Activity

  • Do some gentle exercises. This could help in relieving symptoms of emphysema by building the lung’s capacity. It also helps to cleanse the lungs of stale air. Do not force yourself to do mile-long walks immediately. Just try to start your routine real slow and build it up gradually. You can choose swimming, walking, or cycling.

Relaxation and Meditation

  • Reflexology has been proven as a successful remedy for some who suffer from emphysema. It also teaches you on how to breathe properly.
  • Aromatherapy. This has also done wonders for a lot of sufferers. You can simply add 3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a basin of boiling water. You can then position your head over the basin, with a towel over and then inhale the steam.

Useful Remedies

  • Vitamin C (1g to 2g daily ascorbic form with food). This could help in clearing mucus, as well as improve respiratory ailments.
  • Bromelain (1000mcu daily). This is an extract from pineapple that could also help in breaking down mucus.
  • Taurine (1000mg twice daily before meals). This helps in improving breathlessness.
  • Magnesium (500mg twice daily). This can help in relaxing the bronchial muscles.
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