COPD, in full Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a condition where inflammation of the lungs prevents the proper flow of air to the lungs. As such, this condition is accompanied by symptoms such as difficult breathing, wheezing, unrelentless coughing as well as excessive mucus production. For many affected people, frequent chest infections are also a pointer to the underlying effects of this disease.The most common group predisposed to the effects of COPD are smoking adults. In fact, since breathing tends to worsen over a period of time, most affected persons do not realize the effects this condition has on their lifestyles.
In the absence of proper diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms become more intense and flareups are more frequent. A flareup refers to period when these symptoms become more intense and severe with a sudden onset.For this reason, it is important to see a lung specialist in order to manage and restrict damage to the lungs. In addition to this, left untreated, COPD easily gives way to other diseases such as cancer of the lung, heart conditions as well as high blood pressure.
The most important thing to note is that the damage caused by COPD cannot be undone, that is, it is irreversible. As such, home remedies and lifestyle changes available are intended to manage the symptoms and prevent further lung damage. This also helps restrict resulting complications so that affected persons can improve their general health.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 3 Cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan, pestle and mortar.
COPD predisposes affected persons to chest infections, common cold and flu. In order to keep this at bay, it helps to use garlic whose antibacterial properties go a long way in preventing these chest infections. The garlic’s active ingredients also help prevent mucus accumulation, thus easing breathing and making elimination easier. If you are looking for a remedy that provides much needed relief from COPD symptoms, look no further than raw garlic.
- Peel the garlic cloves and proceed to chop into small pieces.
- Get fine garlic paste by crushing the chopped garlic using a pestle and mortar.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the crushed garlic to fry.
- Let the garlic cook until it is brown.
- Let the garlic mixture cool down and eat it at least once daily to manage the symptoms of COPD.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Raw ginger, 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of raw organic honey.
Ginger is considered as a warming spice, and this is what makes it ideal for the natural treatment of COPD. When mixed with water and allowed to steep, the ginger releases its active ingredients which in turn stimulate the function of the lungs. This expectorant action not only clears mucous from the respiratory ways, it also eases breathing and helps get rid of chest infections. Since one of the most common symptoms of raw ginger is coughing, adding honey to the ginger remedy helps soothe the throat and ease its effects on the chest.
- Peel the ginger and cut into thin slices.
- Add the ginger slices to the water and bring the mixture to boil.
- Turn off the heat after 5 minutes and let the ginger steep for another 5 minutes.
- Strain the mixture and add honey to the ginger tea.
- Drink the tea daily to ward off the symptoms of COPD as well as prevent further damage.
3. Quit Smoking:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another.
What You Need: A conscious decision to stop smoking and relevant coping mechanisms with the sudden changes.
For anyone suffering from COPD, one of the most crucial lifestyle changes with the most profound effects is the immediate cessation of smoking. As mentioned above, smoking is one of the leading causes of COPD, and should therefore be avoided in order to prevent further lung damage. Smoking affects the lungs because it contains toxins which, when inhaled, accumulate in the respiratory system and lead to the indicated symptoms. Over a period of time these toxins cause immense irritation of the lungs. The decision to quit smoking is one of the golden rules in managing COPD.
Tips on how to Quit Smoking
- To ease the effects experienced when one quits smoking, it helps to seek professional medical attention. There are resources, both online and offline to help smokers quit the addiction.
- Most importantly, those struggling with smoking need to have a positive mindset that it is possible to quit the addiction and lead a better lifestyle.
4. Make Use of Eucalyptus Oil:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Eucalyptus oil and a diffuser. 3 drops of eucalyptus oil, hot water in a basin and a clean towel.
COPD often causes chest congestion and accumulation of mucus in the respiratory system. For this reason, eucalyptus oil is very helpful as it significantly reduces shortness of breath and helps improve lung function. Research also indicates that eucalyptus oil contains cineole, one of the ingredients that reduces inflammation in the airways, and prevents further damage to the lungs. An additional benefit of using this remedy is that it helps reduce the intensity and frequency of flareups associated with COPD.
NOTE that the use of eucalyptus oil is not recommended for use around young children.
- You will need a diffuser to make the best of this remedy. Check the diffuser settings prior to using the oil.
- Alternatively, combine the best of eucalyptus oil and heat therapy to manage COPD symptoms as follows. This works perfectly in the absence of a diffuser too, but remember that it is not recommended for young children.
i) Add 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to the hot water in the basin.
ii) Lean over the basin and cover your head using a towel to prevent the steam from escaping.
iii) Inhale the steam as deeply as you can to enjoy its healing benefits.
iv) Use this remedy at least once daily, or multiple times during flareups.
5. Stay Away From Irritants:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another.
What You Need: To know what irritants worsen COPD symptoms and stay away from them.
COPD is caused by constant exposure to lung irritants which, over a period of time, accumulate and cause irreparable damage to the lungs. For this reason, it is imperative to know what the irritants are, and stay away from them as much as possible. Some of these irritants are found in the vicinity of the home, while others are not. The most obvious irritant is cigarette smoke (whether one is actively smoking or they are a second hand smoker), chemicals from industrial products, dust, pet hair as well as smog. Follow the tips below to help reduce flareups and manage COPD symptoms with ease.
Tips to Limit Exposure to Irritants in the Environment
- Quit smoking and stop going to places where other people smoke. In the same breath, it helps to stop hanging around chain smokers.
- Whenever you can, avoid staying in industrialized locations where smog is a common feature. Smog is a lung irritant which is common in places where there is environmental pollution. If this is not possible, stay indoors to reduce exposure to the smog and pollutants.
- When indoors, keep air pollution to a minimum by using an air purifier. Check the settings for optimal operation. Alternatively, use indoor plants that are known to enhance air quality in the home.
- Consider using a mask to protect your respiratory system from irritants in the external environment if you must stay outdoors for extended periods of time.
- Avoid using personal products that have a strong aroma, such as perfumes and skin care products as this will only exacerbate COPD symptoms.
6. Adjust Accordingly the Following Changes in Weather Pattern:
Time Required: Varies
What You Need: Air conditioning units and warm clothing.
Adjusting accordingly in line with weather pattern changes is a simple but profound way to manage COPD symptoms. This is because even minimal changes can set off a cascade of flareups with intensified symptoms such as coughing, excessive mucus production as well as shortness of breath. The challenge, for most people, revolves around changing in tandem with either the hot or cold weather. What one needs to realize is that while it is impossible to change the weather outdoors, it is possible to manage one’s indoor atmosphere so that there is a conducive environment to deal with COPD.
- When the weather is hot and humid, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay in a cool environment. For this, you will need an air-conditioning unit to maintain a cool atmosphere. In tandem with these changes, it helps to limit outdoor activities to either early mornings or late afternoons.
- When it is chilly outside, find ways to keep warm, and especially protect yourself from breathing in cold air.You may wear a scarf over your face or opt for a mask to keep warm. Layering clothes also goes a long way in managing COPD.
7. Regular Exercise:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific routine.
What You Need: Appropriate exercise gear and a comfortable place to exercise.
One of the challenges that COPD patients face is exercising as this often places a load on the chest and the lungs. Interestingly, regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles that support the respiratory system so that breathing is made easier. Regular exercise also helps increase one’s energy levels as well as enhance proper blood circulation. Ideally, any moderate exercise routine is helpful for COPD patients, but specific exercises as outlined below are more beneficial.
- Aerobic exercises help improve one’s cardiovascular health, which in turn eases breathing.
- Stretching exercises such as yoga are also a good option because the different poses improve breathing.
- Resistance exercises are recommended because they help improve stamina as well as strengthen the muscles around the respiratory system.
NOTE: Remember to speak to your doctor before starting on any exercise routine, particularly if COPD
occurs alongside another underlying disease.
8. Increase Your Fluid Intake:
Time Required: Varies
What You Need: Increased fluids
When suffering from COPD, one of the most effective ways to treat and manage the symptoms is to stay hydrated by increasing daily fluid intake. This also helps to thin the mucus produced in the respiratory system, which ultimately helps with breathing. Hydration also plays an important role as it keeps the respiratory tract moist, and reduces the extent of inflammation. Note that if you have been diagnosed with kidney disorder, it is extremely important to ensure that you get a go-ahead from your doctor before embarking on this remedy.
Tips to Increase Daily Fluid Intake
- Drink several glasses of water daily. If you cannot stand the ‘plain taste’ of water, consider adding mint or fresh lemon wedges for that refreshing zing.
- Add to your daily water intake fresh fruit and vegetable juice.
- Remember to take broth and soups to help the body stay hydrated while providing nourishment.
- Limit or avoid in totality, caffeinated beverages as these reverse the effects of added fluid intake and only increase dehydration. The same can be said about alcoholic drinks.
When treating COPD, it helps to follow your doctor appointments so as to keep track of your progress as well as follow medical advice provided. Getting adequate rest also helps manage the symptoms of the condition, as does a stress-free lifestyle. While it is impossible to undo damage caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it helps to take up any of the remedies to manage the spread of the disease.