Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, COPD, is a debilitating and even deadly disease that is currently the sixth leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. They also project that it will become the fourth leading cause of death by 2030.
COPD is actually two, co-occurring, lung diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The patient’s airways narrow progressively over time causing increasingly problematic shortness of breath.
Unlike some other respiratory conditions, such as asthma, COPD is not reversible, making it more and more difficult to breathe as the disease progresses. Ultimately, the disease is fatal, but often people who suffer from COPD will succumb to other health problems before the COPD runs its full course.
COPD Causes, Symptoms and Traditional Treatments
Smoking tobacco is the most common cause of COPD. Other factors such as air pollution and genetics play contribute to a lesser degree. In impoverished societies, poorly vented cooking and heating fires result in long term exposure to pollutants, which in turn produce the pulmonary diseases that comprise COPD.
Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, coughing, and sputum (thick, viscous phlegm) production. COPD is the result of long-term exposure unhealthy substances and conditions. Because it is not reversible, the condition becomes increasingly severe as the patients get older.
COPD dramatically affects our oxygen intake, perhaps the most vital of all our bodily functions, and consequently also impacts our health in enormous ways. Due to the body’s systematic inflammatory response to many the symptoms of COPD, many people will also develop cardiovascular disease, muscle wasting, and osteoporosis.
Other common maladies experienced are depression, anxiety, and malnutrition brought on by less vigorous lung function as people experience the cumulative effects of COPD.
Because COPD can manifest in so many different ways, it is often the case that medical treatments focus on individual symptoms without regard to the underlying cause of the patient’s overall poor health condition. This renders managing COPD safely with medications very difficult.
Allopathic physicians often prescribe bronchodilators, anticholinergics, and corticosteroids to relax muscles around the airways and reduce inflammation. While these medications certainly save lives in certain cases, there are adverse effects are associated with these medications. Their effectiveness varies also, depending on the patient’s condition, dosages, and proper application.
How can Canberra Spine Centre help with COPD?
The mechanical framework of the body is often not in optimum working order and that can contribute to breathing difficulties for COPD patients. Visiting a chiropractic professional regularly can ensure that breathing is not impaired for any reason involving the chest wall (ribs, diaphragm, intercostal muscles) and spine. By adjusting misaligned areas of the spine, ribs and working on appropriate muscles, chiropractors can help improve joint mobility and breathing muscle function. People under chiropractic care regularly report better and easier breathing. While chiropractic is definitely not a cure for COPD, it certainly may help those with breathing difficulties for more comfortable. This, in turn, can make exercise and other healthy activities easier and more fun, and thus more inviting to do, further contributing to health and wellbeing.
What else can you do for COPD?
Quitting smoking is the single most effective action that someone can do to manage COPD. Smoking is the most common cause of COPD and continued smoking accelerates the progression of the disease. Acquiring COPD is a near certainty for life-long smokers, unless their health is not destroyed sooner by lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, or some other smoking-related disease.
Exercise is the most important effective method of managing COPD, after the cessation of smoking. Making a commitment to regular exercise may be difficult for many of with the disease, but it is vitally important to increase lung health and overall health of the entire body. A major challenge is that while exercise improves the patient’s lung capacity and lung function, the fact that he or she has diminished lung capacity makes exercising more difficult.
Therefore, strong mental resolve is required to start and maintain an exercise program. But the rewards are significant. Those who get regular outdoor activity have shown in studies to maintain a higher body mass index, have less need of oxygen therapy, and better survival rates than those who do not report outdoor activity.
A proper diet for lung health is also important. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E seem to be an important part in battling the effects of COPD. Antioxidants help eliminate the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules that react in toxic ways with the body’s natural chemistry. They are produced by smoking and drinking, among other things. Adopting a diet high in antioxidants (mainly fresh fruit and vegetables) will help battle the negative health effects caused by free radicals in the body.
Chiropractic Care and COPD
Let the professionals at Canberra Spine Centre help. If you or a loved one is at risk of COPD, or already suffers from it, don’t wait. Delaying action will only allow the disease to manifest more severely and grow more difficult to manage. Canberra Spine Centre is committed to helping patients prevent and ease the symptoms of COPD with all-natural solutions.