Are you suddenly experiencing shortness of breath or acute wheezing after the simplest of work, such as bending to wear your shoes, or loading a small suitcase into the car? Or have you started hyperventilating at the slightest sign of things not going your way? If your answer to both these questions is yes, then there is bad news waiting. And that is, given these two symptoms, there are very good chances that you are suffering from Emphysema.
Your next question probably is what is Emphysema? And why should I be worried, considering I am only experiencing slight discomfort? Put simply, minus all the medical jargon that will leave your head reeling, Emphysema is essentially a kind of respiratory disease in which our lungs gradually start to lose their all-important capacity to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon-di-oxide.
This generally starts to happen when the small air sacs lining our lungs start to inflate. It is this development that constricts oxygen carrying blood vessels to and from the lungs, making it difficult for us to breathe normally. Asthma and bronchitis can be considered two initial stages of Emphysema, which is the last stage as it usually leads to a complete collapse of the lungs, and with it our breathing.
But this is not the only reason you should worry. While this disease may cause our lungs to collapse, more importantly it shuts down the primary source of our life, our heart. Thus, if we have been diagnosed with Emphysema we must worry about the health of our heart, as our lungs and heart are intricately linked.
When respiratory diseases like Emphysema attack the lungs, they struggle to cope with the body’s huge oxygen requirements, and as a defense mechanism the body starts to breathe more frequently, causing you to hyperventilate. At the same time, the heart starts to pump faster, hoping to increase the oxygen supply, till it simply stops functioning under this acute strain.
And there is some more bad news, which is that medically Emphysema is considered non curable, meaning that in no way can you completely free yourself of it. This is because it is a disease in which one only worsens with time, as it involves the gradual disintegration of the lung tissue and its capacity to swap oxygen and carbon-di-oxide gases.
That having said, you can always take steps to contain the damage done by years of smoking and exposure to various kinds of smoke. Doctors generally treat this condition with two bodies of medicine, namely corticosteroids and bronchodilators, which help to relax, dilate and reduce the inflammation of lung tissue, thereby helping it restoring its capacity for oxygen carrying.
Both these kinds of kinds of medicines have to be inhaled through an inhaler or puff, in just the right amount, as even a slight overdose of these strong medicines could have dangerous side effects. Therefore, instead of immediately going to the doctor, and getting started on your treatment with these hard core drugs, try doing damage control the natural way, by giving some of the tried and tested home remedies a chance to fight this respiratory malady.
The best remedy for fighting this respiratory disease is garlic, as once consumed, it straight away breakdowns to help your failing immune system fight this disease. If you want to provide immediate comfort to your distressed lungs, then you must try some Cayenne pepper, easily available at the smallest of stores. This pepper is the best at breaking all that mucous clogging your lungs and preventing a build-up of phlegm, another source of breathing difficulty. While you can always incorporate both of these in the food you cook, the best way to have them is to chew them on an empty stomach right in the morning.
If you have a steamer at home, then you can always mix some unadulterated Eucalyptus oil with water, and inhale the steam. This will be great for your swollen lungs, as Eucalyptus is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Also, since juices of fresh vegetables and fruits help build our overall body immunity, many people are all praises for the five juice diet, wherein in you only ingest juices of watercress, carrot, spinach and raw potato. Among fruits having freshly squeezed juices of pineapple, orange and, last but not the least, lemon are very beneficial in the long run.
Apart from these, the one thing you simply must reduce is your daily intake of salt. This is because too much of salt can throw off balance the crucial sodium-potassium ratio, which can lead the nervous system to set off all the wrong alarms in the body in general, and lungs in particular, gradually leading to lung damage.
Apart from these dietary additions and subtractions, it is really important that you reconsider your lifestyle choices, especially your choice to smoke, drink and inject intravenous drugs. These three habits have been scientifically proven to increase the number of radical enzymes and molecules, which then go on to inflate lung tissues.
It is also advisable to stop exposing yourself to all kinds of smoke, from stoves, gas and burners etc., as this again hurts the delicate lining of our lungs. Hence, if it is your job that exposes you to smoke, then it is time you consider a change of job, or even a change of house, should your house be situated very near to a source of smoke.
Also do some research on yoga and other deep breathing exercises, as these will help tone your whole body in the long run. Plus, don’t make the mistake of switching to a lazy, lethargic and bed-ridden lifestyle, thinking it will be a safer bet, because it isn’t. The best thing you can do for yourself now is to carry on with your life, and continue doing light exercises. But remember to never exercise when feeling tired or under strain, as your heart may not be able to handle it.