Chronic lung diseases, like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, pneumonitis, asbestosis, and pulmonary fibrosis, can be scary. At RightPath Pain & Spine Centers in Davenport, FL, we can help. We offer MSC (mesenchymal stem cell) therapy to encourage your body to heal itself. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how stem cell therapy can help, what CLD is, what the risk factors of CLD are, and much more.
Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Treat Chronic Lung Disease?
Stem cell therapy can help treat chronic lung disease, sometimes referred to as CLD. Mesenchymal stem cells have a unique property known as differentiation. This type of cell can transform itself into any cell in the human body.
When these special cells are administered intravenously, they quickly find the damaged tissues surrounding the lungs and other affected organs. For instance, these stem cells can combat chronic bronchitis or emphysema by repairing lung tissue damaged by the disease. They can also help with chronic bronchitis by clearing the airways due to their natural anti-inflammatory properties. Mesenchymal stem cells can also repair damage to the diaphragm.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
You will probably qualify for mesenchymal stem cell therapy if you suffer from moderate or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. To determine definitively whether you qualify for this highly innovative treatment, you’ll need to sit down with Dr. Tom M. Porter, MD. He’ll talk to you about your symptoms, listen to your breathing and examine your chest, and discuss your family medical history to verify you have COPD.
What Other Diagnostic Tools May Be Used?
Some other diagnostic tools that may be used to verify if you have a chronic lung disease include spirometry, a chest X-ray, or a blood test. Spirometry is a simple test that is used to identify how much air you can breathe out in one second and how much air you can breathe out. To get a reliable reading, you may need to exhale into a spirometer a few times after inhaling a bronchodilator to help widen your airways.
A chest X-ray may be recommended if we suspect there is a different lung problem causing COPD symptoms. For example, a chest X-ray may detect lung cancer or a chest infection. A blood test can be helpful in identifying polycythemia or anemia, conditions that cause too many red blood cells in your blood or a low iron level. These conditions can cause symptoms that are very similar to COPD.
What Other COPD Treatment Methods May Help Me?
If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking is one of the most effective steps you can take to manage your symptoms. If you continue to smoke, your symptoms will worsen faster than they should. There is no way to reverse the damage done to your airways and lungs, but if you stop smoking, you can reduce the likelihood that you’ll need a lung transplant or similar surgical procedure in the future to address your breathing concerns.
If your COPD is in one of the earliest stages, you may not need to do anything besides quit smoking, if you’re a smoker. If you’re in one of the latest stages of this disease, you may need to take a multi-pronged approach to your treatment.
Get an Inhaler
Regardless of whether you’re a smoker or not, getting an inhaler can improve your breathing. The type of inhaler that is ideal for your unique situation will be discussed during your initial consultation. If we determine that an inhaler is a good fit for you, we will advise you on how often to use it and how to use it correctly. Here are some of the options that may be a good fit for you:
Short-Acting Bronchodilator Inhalers
If you suffer from COPD or a similar chronic lung disease, there’s a good chance that a short-acting bronchodilator inhaler will be a good fit for you. There are two types of short-acting bronchodilators: beta-2 agonists and antimuscarinics. Examples of beta-2 agonist inhalers include terbutaline and salbutamol. The most common example of an antimuscarinic inhaler is ipratropium. This type of inhaler should be used whenever you start to feel breathless, up to four times daily.
Long-Acting Bronchodilator Inhalers
Long-acting bronchodilator inhalers are similar to short-acting bronchodilator inhalers in that they widen and relax your airways, making it easier to breathe. However, a single dose of a long-acting bronchodilator lasts for 12 hours. This type of inhaler is recommended for people who feel breathless more than four times daily.
Steroid inhalers are generally used as a last resort for people who struggle with feelings of breathlessness. This type of inhaler is recommended if you have frequent exacerbations or feel breathless within the 12-hour period that a long-acting inhaler should be effective. Steroid inhalers work by dispersing a corticosteroid medicine into your airways, relieving inflammation quickly and effectively. Usually, a steroid inhaler is used in conjunction with a long-acting inhaler.
Pulmonary rehabilitation can also help you improve your quality of life if you suffer from COPD or another chronic lung disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation is tailored to the individual and may involve strength exercises, walking, and spinning. You may benefit from seeing a physiotherapist twice weekly for no fewer than six weeks to restore lung strength. As your therapy sessions progress, you may notice that you have feelings of breathlessness less frequently.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
We understand it can be hard to maintain a healthy weight when you struggle to breathe while exercising. However, if you’re overweight or suffering from obesity, you should try to lose weight. If you can’t burn a significant amount of calories through exercise, reduce the portions of calorie-dense foods you eat, replacing the lost volume with low-calorie foods. Moreover, you should limit your intake of liquid calories that don’t keep you full.
If you’re underweight, you should make an effort to put on fat in a healthy manner. If you feel like you can’t increase your intake of solid food anymore, consider drinking a homemade protein shake with peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and cocoa powder between meals. You can also gain weight by drinking nutritious nut butter and Greek yogurt smoothies between meals. Eating a nut butter bagel or bowl of oatmeal with whole milk after dinner can also help.
COPD puts your body under a significant amount of strain. As a result, suffering from this condition significantly increases the risk of catching infections. If you haven’t been vaccinated against pneumococcal infections, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to talk about inoculation.
Moreover, it is extremely important that you get your flu vaccine every year. Upper respiratory infections, like the flu, are the leading cause of COPD flare-ups.
What Is CLD?
According to the National Cancer Institute, CLD is a type of medical condition that can affect any part of the respiratory system, including the lungs. Most of the time, symptoms develop slowly, getting significantly worse as time goes on. Symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis and depend significantly on the type of CLD.
If you suffer from COPD, one of the most common types of CLD, you will probably notice chronic wheezing and a wet, chesty cough that seems like it will never go away. You also may notice that you feel breathless when you exercise. Over time, though, you may wake up in the middle of the night feeling breathless, and you may feel like you can’t get enough oxygen even when sedentary. Furthermore, you may experience frequent chest infections.
What Causes This Condition?
This condition is usually caused by such forms of air pollution as dust, chemical fumes, and secondhand tobacco smoke. It can also be caused by smoking tobacco. In fact, smoking is the cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in nine out of 10 cases.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
If you suffer from COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, or another CLD, stem cell therapy can help. Mesenchymal stem cells can treat a number of lung problems, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema caused by COPD. They can also help the diaphragm repair itself. Contact us today at RightPath Pain & Spine Centers in Davenport, FL to schedule your initial consultation and find out how you can start breathing easier.