Emphysema is a respiratory disease characterized by a sensation of a heavy weight on the chest and symptoms such as gasping for breath-the presence of these two symptoms signals advanced pulmonary emphysema in the affected person. Emphysema affects the lungs and the disease occurs in the most complex tissues of the lungs, which are the alveolar sacs. These sacs are where the actual exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occur in the lungs. Breathing becomes difficult during the disease because as the elastic alveolar sacs overstretch, and this expansion makes it difficult to exhale fully. Thus some air is always trapped within the sacs and this trapped air blocks most fresh air from entering the sacs, less and less oxygen reaches the blood with each breath as the fresh supply of air is always minimal due to the hindrance given by trapped air in the sacs. The early symptoms of emphysema develop slowly, and respiration becomes difficult only during such times as when a person exercises heavily and when he or she walks up and down a flight of stairs. The consequent breathlessness often comes along with a dry or rattling sounding cough as symptoms. Advanced stages of emphysema are easily identifiable as the person outwardly possesses air filled and barrel shaped chest as a distinguishing feature or physical sign. If opportunistic lung infections such as bronchitis set in during the late stages of emphysema, some parts of the lungs can collapse and the condition can become life threatening and may turn lethal. Though symptomatic treatment is possible and even though the progress of the disease can be halted, full blown cases of emphysema is irreversible. The heart is another condition that is severely affected by this disease.
The elasticity inherent in tissues decreases with age, thus a person has a high risk of developing emphysema as he or she grows older. Those individuals already suffering from some form of chronic respiratory problems, including disease such as asthma, bronchitis or a chronic cough are at a very high risk of developing emphysema. The risk of the disease can be significantly lowered if these conditions have been treated in the early stages itself. Tobacco is a significant bronchial irritant, and smoking as a behavior is a risk factor to develop the disease. Smokers thus suffer a predisposition to developing emphysema; the smoke lowers the immunity of the lungs to infection-which is the first step for eventual emphysema. The chances of developing emphysema are also increase if the person is affected by a constant low-grade infection because of poor respiratory health whatever may be the actual cause. The prevention of emphysema is best done through an improvement in overall health. The resistance of the immune system must be increased and supported, the capacity of the lung can be maintained through mild exercise and by following diets that provide good nutrition-these steps prevent further respiratory complications from settling in and preclude the arrival of emphysema.
Supplements and herbs
The affected lung tissues can be bolstered and supported by the use of many types of nutritional supplements on a regular basis. The elasticity of tissues is improved by the supplements of vitamin E which also fine tunes the oxygen supply reaching the lungs. Connective tissue health in the pulmonary region is promoted by supplements of the vitamins A and C along with the bioflavonoids, these supplements also help ward off infection and promote a strong immune system in the individual. Cell renewal makes use of compounds such as chlorophyll found abundantly in green food supplements, including sources like wheatgrass and barley grass, supplementation using these substances is highly recommended for the patient. The action of chlorophyll is mildly cleansing and is similar to the vitamin E as far as its role within the body is concerned. The amount of oxygen reaching the tissues can be increased by supplementing the coenzyme Q10-this compound also slows tissue aging in the person and helps in the renewal of cells. Regular supplements of this compound can be used by the patient.
Supplements of such amino acids as the reduced form of L-glutathione and N-acetyl-cysteine can help in brining about a reduction in the amount of phlegm in the respiratory tract and may help in eliminating it entirely. These cut up the mucoprotein molecules into smaller and less viscous fragments and thus dissolve the mucus accumulating in the respiratory tract. Another function that they perform is their role as effective oral chelation agents helping to clean out the mouth. They help eliminate toxic heavy metals through the kidneys, they do this by forming bonds with metals like lead, mercury, copper, aluminum, arsenic and cadmium especially when the concentrations of these heavy metals crosses a dangerous limit within the body.
Cases of emphysema can be effectively relieved by the use of these herbal remedies, all of which are fast acting and treat the symptoms quickly.
The most effective remedy to treat emphysema is through the use of an herbal remedy containing the active ingredient myrtol-derived from the oil of the myrtle plant. This oil is available in the form of gelatin capsules that are able to dissolve in the small intestine when ingested, the myrtle oil is absorbed by the intestines. Once it has been absorbed into the body, the oil is then eliminated or expelled through the passages of the bronchial mucous membranes and via the pulmonary alveoli in the lungs. The ingested myrtle oil loosens accumulated mucus and promotes the excretion of mucus into the nasal passages-it also refreshes the breath besides being an excellent antiseptic. Damaged lung tissues can be repaired effectively by supplements of the horsetail herb-the active chemical compounds found in the herb help maintain pulmonary tissues and prevent its destruction. Dosage of this herb can be 10-20 drops of a tincture made from horsetail diluted in water or taken in a combination herbal formula using herbal teas of the thyme, the coltsfoot, the fenugreek, the lobelia, the agrimony or the mullein. This combination herbal drink can be prepared by adding a cup of boiling water to a tsp. of the herbs, for about ten minutes let the mixture steep in the boiling water, the resulting liquid can then be strained and a cup of the undiluted, tea can be consumed four times every day during the treatment regimen. Another excellent herbal remedy is the use of a drop of butter bur herbal tincture mixed in a glass of water. This herbal formula can be taken every day for eight days in the initial phase of treatment, the dosage can then be increases to two drops of the herbal tincture being mixed per glass of water for another eight days. Dilutions of the herbal tincture will depend on the type of reaction it draws from the patient.
It is recommended that you use the following homeopathic remedies at lower potencies of about 6x, 12x, 6c or 12c strength, about two or three times every day during a treatment course lasting several weeks at a stretch. It is also suggested that suitable breaks must exist in between and two courses. The continuous use of these homeopathic remedies will relieve most of the symptoms and bring about gradual improvement as time passes.
Additional things you may do
Alternative techniques such as the practice of regular breathing exercises are an important part of treatment for patients with emphysema. Practice this technique by exhaling from the mouth while slowly humming at the same time, this must be done while using the muscles in the diaphragm, the neck and the throat and the muscles of the shoulder. It is important to carry out these breathing exercises in the fresh air outdoors preferably in the mornings. Physical exercise is another important activity that must be carried out on a daily basis by the patient and the patient must start with short walks whose length can be increased slowly over a period of days. The length or intensity of the walks can be decreased if the patient feels any difficulty in breathing or if the practice makes him or her physically exhausted-the aim of the exercise being to maintain health and not to build muscles. The lungs can also be strengthen and exercised through daily and regular sessions in the swimming pool and as a sport swimming is an excellent and non taxing exercise. Regular foot baths can also be tried as an alternative measure. Take foot baths using hot water to which half a cup of table salt has been added. Daily massages to the chest area will loosen the breathing apparatus, regularly massage the area as a further measure for optimal health.
Other beneficial herbs