24 Home Remedies for COPD

home remedies for COPD

Can you imagine living a life where it’s constantly difficult to breathe? Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (known as COPD, for short) is a disease that ranks as the third leading cause of death in the United States. It comes with disabling effects that could respond to home remedies for COPD when coupled with other treatments.

What is COPD?

Millions of people are diagnosed with COPD – a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe [1]. Over time, the condition worsens and there is no way to reverse the damage. Individuals with COPD experience blocked airways that make natural breathing and participating in normal, everyday activities very difficult. A reduction in air flow is usually caused by one or more of the following factors:

• The airways and air sacs lose their elasticity.
• The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed.
• The walls of the airways thicken and become inflamed.
• The airways produce more mucus than usual, which can clog airflow.

Causes and SymptomsHome Remedies for COPD

The leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the United States is smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other types of tobacco – the majority of people with COPD are smokers or used to smoke. A long-term exposure to other irritants of the lungs can also lead to COPD, especially if you work around chemical fumes, live in dusty conditions or reside in a neighborhood with high levels of air pollution. Other causes of COPD include being exposed to secondhand smoke and a rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which means you have low levels of a protein made in the liver.

The initial signs and symptoms of COPD are hard to pinpoint, as many people experience mild indicators or have no symptoms at all. As the diseases progresses, symptoms start to make themselves known. Typical warning signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are:

• A lingering cough
• Coughing that generates a lot of mucus (also called “smoker’s cough”)
• Shortness of breath, especially when you are doing something physical
• Wheezing – a whistling or squeaky sound made when you breathe
• Tightness in the chest
• People with COPD may often suffer from colds and the flu

Severe cases of COPD can cause other symptoms, such as:

• Swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs
Weight loss
• Lower muscle endurance

COPD Home Remedies

Currently, there is no cure for COPD, and you can’t reverse the damage to the airways and lungs that the condition has already put into place. However, you can lessen the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by making a few lifestyle changes. To get an idea of the kinds of things you can do to gain better control over symptoms, consider the following home remedies for COPD:

a) Foods with Omega-3s:

Add foods and ingredients with omega-3 fatty acids to your diet to actively fight the effects of COPD. Good choices to consider include cold-water fish, avocados, flax seeds, walnuts, and olive oil.

b) Vitamin-Rich Foods:

It is important to get enough vitamins in your diet to help fight the symptoms of COPD, such as foods high in vitamins A, C, and E.

c) Foods with Vitamin C:

To improve lung function and give a boost to your immune system, it is suggested to increase your intake of foods high in vitamin C. Popular options include cooked leafy greens, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, sweet potatoes, winter squash, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and pineapple.

d) Calm Your Nerves:

Staying calm and reducing the anxiety in your life can help control COPD. Even when breathing problems are not present, the fear of having an attack can trigger breathlessness as your breathing and heart rate increase. You are encouraged to embrace a hobby that centers on relaxation, such as crafting, sewing or tai chi.

e) Breathing Techniques:

Learning how to effectively breathe can help control some of the COPD symptoms that a patient may face.

f) Pursed Lip Breathing:

Try pursed-lip breathing to make getting breathes out easier. Patients often face a buildup of air in the lungs, which makes it hard for them to expand. However, pursed-lip breathing can help regulate this issue. You will need to sit in a comfortable position and inhale deeply through the nose. Purse your lips as if you were whistling, and then breathe out three times longer than you did breathing in. Make sure you are not forcing out the air. Some people use this technique when shortness of breath occurs – this is a way to regulate breathing patterns.

g) Diaphragm Breathing:

If you need to strengthen the diaphragm muscle, which helps you conserve energy when breathing, consider diaphragm breathing techniques. First, you will lie on your back with your knees bent. Place one hand on the upper chest and another resting on the abdomen. As you inhale and exhale, keep the chest as still as possible. You will be using your stomach to breathe. Aim to practice this technique three times daily – for 5 to 10 minutes per session.

h) Eat Smaller Portions:

When eating meals, opt for smaller portions over large meals to decrease your chances of suffering shortness of breath.

i) Pineapple:

The protein-digesting enzymes known as bromelain found in pineapples can help reduce uncomfortable coughing, as well as put a dent in mucus production associated with a respiratory infection. Fresh pineapple is rich in this enzyme.

j) Stay Away from Cough Suppressants :

The coughing you may experience with COPD is actually helpful because it helps get rid of accumulated mucus from the lungs. Because of this, do not use treatments that suppress coughing.

k) Stop Smoking and Avoid Secondhand Smoke:

Since smoking is one of the leading causes of COPD, quitting could become one of the smartest things you ever do for your health. If you continue to smoke tobacco products, the damage of COPD will occur faster than if you stop smoking.

l) Don’t Sleep Under Open Windows:

Direct cold air can trigger bronchospasm and shortness of breath in COPD patients. It is suggested to position your bed away from windows that you may open in the summertime.

m) Say ‘No’ to Salt:

Too much sodium in a diet can lead to fluid retention, which can worsen your shortness of breath [2].

n) Ginger:

With a natural appeal to our senses, ginger is a spicy herb that helps support lung health by delivering powerful antioxidants. You can add the root to boiling water to make a healing tea or add the fresh root to your recipes. The herb also contains natural antibiotics that help fight off infection that can worsen COPD symptoms.

o) Vitamin D:

A small study has suggested that an increase in vitamin D can help treat chronic lung disease by making breathing easier [3].

p) Exercise:

Regular exercise can ease troubled breathing by improving your overall strength and endurance, as well as making your respiratory muscles stronger [4].

q) Shed Pounds:

Don’t waste your much-needed energy on carrying around an overweight body – you need to shed extra pounds in order to avoid a shortness of breath and improve your overall breathing.

r) Yoga:

Learning yoga positions can help relax your body and help you to focus on breathing techniques that eases symptoms of COPD.

s) Tai Chi:

The relaxing movements of tai chi are beneficial to COPD patients because they encourage better breathing.

t) Drink Lots of Water:

To help get rid of the mucus building up in your lungs and airways, increase the amount of water and other liquids you drink on a daily basis. This act will help keep the lungs clear.

u) Humidifier:

Running a humidifier in your bedroom can help keep airways free of mucus and ease difficult breathing associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

v) Dust Frequently:

A dusty environment can affect your lung condition, so keeping your spaces free of dust can lessen your chances of suffering a flare-up.

w) Circulate Your Air:

Bad air can worsen your breathing. It is suggested to use and frequently replace air filters in your home. Combat allergens by using the air conditioning to bring in air on a hot day.  Also consider using grandma’s remedies to purify your air.

x) Massage:

Some people enjoy a nice massage to reduce the anxiety associated with COPD – the relaxing sense of touch can also encourage better breathing.

Resources

[1]  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/

[2] http://www.everydayhealth.com/copd/a-copd-diet.aspx

[3] http://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/news/20110516/vitamin-d-may-improve-breathing-for-copd-patients

[4] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/copd/DS00916/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies

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