Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the umbrella term for diseases that restrict airflow and cause breathing difficulties. It can affect the airways, air sacs in the lungs, or both. It impacts millions of Americans, but if you’re among those who have been recently diagnosed, you may need help clearing up what’s true about the condition from the myths. As with any condition, a fair amount of misinformation circulates about COPD. Here are some of the most common myths and the real story behind them.
You Can Only Get COPD if You’ve Smoked
Smoking is indeed one of the major risk factors for developing COPD. That doesn’t mean everyone who is diagnosed is a former or current smoker, however. In fact, up to 25% of COPD patients never smoked. Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood and teen years could impede lung development, increasing the risk for COPD later.
It is Too Late for Smoking Cessation After a Diagnosis
Some patients believe there’s little smoking cessation would do if they’ve already been diagnosed with COPD. As it turns out, quitting could deliver considerable benefits. While it won’t reverse the damage that’s already been done, quitting early enough could restore lung function to near-normal levels.
COPD Can’t Be Treated
COPD is chronic, which means that it’s a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Yet, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any treatments available to help control symptoms and reduce future lung damage.
Lifestyle modifications such as optimizing nutrition, smoking cessation, and staying up-to-date with influenza and pneumonia vaccines can help maintain health. There are also medications, such as inhalers, to help combat inflammation and open the airways.
Many are seeking alternative options such as regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy.
Regenerative Medicine therapy has been studied to help minimize and even reverse inflammation, a key mechanism behind the chronic condition. In conjunction with lifestyle changes, this therapy has the potential to help manage the symptoms of COPD.
You Can’t Exercise with COPD
While shortness of breath may make exercise challenging, it’s still possible—and beneficial—to get moving after a COPD diagnosis. With pulmonary rehabilitation, you may be able to practice breathing exercises that make movement easier. Routine workouts can reduce COPD symptoms, enhance your body’s use of oxygen, control stress, and strengthen your heart. Aim for 30 minutes of cardio exercise three or four days a week, and add in stretching and resistance moves for a well-rounded approach to fitness.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine, also known as Stem Cell Therapy in Tampa. Regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues.