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.
Ammonium carb. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients with emphysema who are continuously physically weak, feeling drowsy and chilly most of the time, along with sudden bouts of yawning from tiredness. Physical symptoms that are apparent in the patient include the presence of a dry and tickling night cough which persists throughout the day, gradually worsening at around 3-4 a.m. in the mornings.
Patients also seem to be short of breath most of the time, and suffer palpitations in the heart, and a vague burning sensation present in the chest. The condition of the symptoms are aggravated if the patient undertakes any form of physical exertion, if he or she stays for too long in a warm room, and it also usually worsens right about the time that he or she begins to sleep.
Even ascending the stairs can aggravate the symptoms in the patient. Another physical symptom is the presence of constriction and suffocation that persist in the patient at all times of the day and night. The patient also suffers from blockage in the nose and has to respire using his or her mouth at most times. Symptomatic signs are the exudation of hot and acrid mucus from the nasal cavities at most times of the day and night, persistent nosebleeds is also another sign.
The condition of the patient can rapidly worsen in cold, damp and overcast weather, it also worsens at night, and in women during their menstrual period. The condition of the patient can significantly improve when he or she lies with the stomach facing downwards. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate utilization of Ammonium carb. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
Ant. tart. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients with emphysema in whom the symptoms of the condition can include the presence of shortness of breath and a suffocative sensation in the chest at most times coupled with a rapid rate of breathing, and sudden gasping reflexes. The rate of respiration is rather rapid, and the patient suffers from a very weak pulse which is imperceptible through the skin.
There is very little issue from the nasal cavities through a lot of rattling of mucus is seen when the patient coughs, little or no expectoration results even after long bouts of coughing. Instead the periods of coughing can end rather suddenly in sudden vomiting and retching behavior. The physical symptoms also include the appearance of nausea that arises in waves persisting throughout the day and night.
The patients yawn a lot. Physically the patient may become very weak, and feels very drowsy at most times, he or she may be given to sweating and irritability at most times of the day and night. The condition of the patient can rapidly worsen after he or she has eaten, or when he or she stays in warm room or following the ingestion of drinks, staying inside a cold and damp room will also worsen the condition of the patient, the patient may feel ill when lying down, and at around 3 pm, even the slightest movements can also aggravate the condition.
The patient will improve considerably when sitting erect, and if he or she lies down on the right side of the body, the condition of the patient is also worsened after expectorating, and when belching during a meal. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Ant. tart. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
Arsenicum is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of patients with emphysema in whom physical symptoms such as shortness of breath persist, and these symptoms seemingly worsen when lying down. Physical symptoms of the condition include the presence of a wheezing, whistling respiratory noise that persists throughout the day. The patient can also suffer from outward signs such as a blue complexion and persistent cold sweats during the day and night.
Symptoms in the patient include the presence of burning sensations that persist, though the patient is never very cold to the touch. The patient may also complain of a dry cough that suddenly appears as if he or she were inhaling fumes. The nasal cavities give out an alternately dry or loose, frothy mucus at all times of the day and night. The patient can also suffer from added symptoms such as asthma and hay fever like conditions.
The patient also suffers from great anxiety, and sudden suspicion as psychological manifestations of the condition, he or she may suddenly start to have a very persistent fear of death, and restlessness to the extreme is also evident. The condition of the patient can rapidly worsen in the hours after midnight, and when the patient stays in a cold and damp place, when he or she is lying down with the back facing downwards, when exposed to odors, even people laughing and staying in the outdoors can trigger the symptoms, the condition of the patient is also aggravated after coughing, sudden movements and turns can also worsen the condition, the consumption of alcohol always worsens the symptoms.
The patient will improve when some heat is applied to the body, when the patient is sitting up, and after consuming coffee. The presence of one or more of these symptoms in the patient requires the immediate use of Arsenicum as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
Carbo veg. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of emphysema patients who suffer from wheezing in the chest, and the presence of rattling mucus in the chest at all times of the day and night, the patient might also be choking on phlegm exuded from the lungs from time to time. Physical symptoms can include the presence of a burning sensation in the region of the chest.
The patient may also suffer from shortness of breath, and may always wish to be fanned with cool air to bring down the heat. The complexion of the patient is affected by the condition in strange ways and the patient may have a bluish or dusky face during the worst manifestations of the disease. Physical symptoms that are also apparent in the patient include a rattling sensation in the chest, and the presence of a gagging cough, along with hoarseness in the throat.
The patient is physically exhausted most of the time, and feels weak and is emaciated even thought the appetite may be good. The breath of the patient is icy cold at most times. The patients may exude an offensive smelling gas from the pores of the body, a foul odor can also be present in the sweat and the mucus of the patient. The patient also suffers from long bouts of distended, and rancid belching.
The condition of the patient worsens towards the evening, when he or she stays out in the open air, and when he or she has consumed warm rich food with a lot of oil. The condition of the patient can improve in cool air, when he or she is given to belching aloud. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Carbo. veg. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the condition.
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.
Barley grass or wheatgrass, one tsp. 1 -3 times a day.
Vitamin E, 400 IU.
Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 5,000 mg.
N-acetyl-cysteine 500-1,000 mg thrice a day or reduced L-glutathione, 75 mg.
Coenzyme Q10, 100 mg two times a day.
Other beneficial herbs
- Lily of the Valley
- Peruvian Balsam
- Senega Root
- Yellow Dock