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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing hard. It can turn fatal if not properly treated. Smoking and exposure to air pollution are considered as some of the main causes of COPD.
Sometimes symptoms of COPD don't appear till it has already caused severe damage to the lungs. If you are diagnosed with this disease at the earlier stage, you might be able to slow the spreading. There is a common misconception that COPD is an old age disease.
Some of the most common symptoms of COPD are non-stop cough, breathing trouble, excess production of mucus, frequent wheezing, tiredness, sudden weight loss and discolouration of the skin. If left untreated, it might lead to other serious health problems like severe lung damage, hypertension and heart problems as well. Hence, getting the correct treatment at the right time is very important .
If you are looking out for a way to control the symptoms and prevent the lung from further damage, then simple changes in lifestyle and natural remedies would certainly help. Take a look at some of the most effective and simple ways that can be beneficial for an individual with COPD.
Garlic is known for its antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial properties and helps to inhibit mucous, eliminate mucous from tubes of bronchitis and thus helps to ease the respiratory problem. Also, it helps in relieving the pain as well .
How to: Take a few garlic cloves, crush it. Add about half a teaspoon of ghee in the pan, heat it and then add the crushed garlic cloves. Roast it for a few seconds and eat when hot.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger helps to break down the mucus, making it easier for your body to expel air. It also helps improve circulation to the lungs and reduces inflammation .
How to: Take an inch of ginger root, peel it, chop it into pieces and then boil it. Strain it and drink it in the form of tea for relief.
The curcumin contained in turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps to fight oxidative stress and reduce airway inflammation .
How to: Turmeric can be added to the food regularly. Or heat a teaspoon of ghee, then turn off the heat. Add a teaspoon of turmeric and then mix it well. Have this along with a cup of lukewarm milk.
4. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil may help with opening airways in COPD as well as treating inflammation. This helps in improving the breathing and reduce the symptoms .
How to: Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water and then inhale the steam.
Note: However, breathing in concentrated eucalyptus oil can cause lung irritation and make symptoms worse.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Adding foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps in fighting the symptoms of COPD. Walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, avocados and olive oil are a few foods that are rich in omega-3 fats and helps fight COPD .
Apart from following the aforementioned remedies, one must also consider the following steps.
6. Avoid Smoking (& Vaping)
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two diseases that contribute to the development of COPD in a person. The first vital step that a person must take to prevent COPD is to quit smoking. One can try for nicotine replacement products like patches, gums, and lozenges, which will help keep the habit at bay .
7. Exercise Regularly
Shortness of breath, which is one symptom of COPD, can be managed with the help of regular exercises, which can help build endurance. It is normally advisable to do gentle exercises like slow walking, gardening and golfing. Breathing exercises can also help as it strengthens the chest muscles, making breathing easy .
Note: One must seek a doctor's recommendation about the type of exercises that can be done.
8. Follow A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is highly essential to control COPD symptoms. Consuming low-fat protein, whole grains, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting down on salt intake helps in managing the symptoms and providing relief .
9. Increase Water Intake
This is the easiest thing to do of all the lifestyle changes. A person with COPD must have a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. By doing this, the mucus in the lung does not thicken up and stick to the lungs, which happens if an adequate quantity of water is not consumed - staying hydrated makes breathing easier .
10. Avoid Carbonated Drinks
Consuming carbonated drinks swells up the stomach and puts pressure on the diaphragm. This makes breathing harder. So, steer clear of soda if you're suffering from COPD .
11. Avoid Alcohol
Regular drinking habit worsens the effects of COPD, a study says. Two things happen with the intake of alcohol - one, it reduces glutathione level which protects the lungs from smoke and, two, the airway becomes unhealthy with mucus and other contaminants .
12. Maintain A Healthy Weight
A normal BMI is essential to handle the effects of COPD in a better way. The lungs and heart of a person with COPD work harder than those of an ordinary person to help the body breathe. With weight gain, the work of the lungs and the heart only double up, thereby exerting excessive pressure on the respiratory system .
On A Final Note…
An individual suffering from COPD should be wary of the symptoms as there's no cure for COPD and no way to repair the damage to airways and lungs . Apart from the aforementioned, you can help yourself by staying away from pollutants, keeping your house free from dampness and also by maintaining personal hygiene.