Learn about the efficiency and side effects of the popular natural remedies and supplements that help reduce the effects of Emphysema.
Emphysema is a lung disease and is one of the many diseases that forms Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) along with Chronic Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis. In other words, COPD is a group of diseases that obstructs the flow of air in the lungs thereby making breathing difficult. When affected by emphysema, the alveoli in the lungs (small sacs of air located at the ends of the airways) start breaking down. The alveoli are responsible for the oxygenation of the blood. To simplify, the alveoli are the site where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the blood takes place. People with this disease find it difficult to exhale air out of their lungs as the collapsed walls of the alveoli trap the air within.
According to the Center for Disease Control in the US, approximately 6.8 million people were diagnosed with COPD in 2012. COPD is considered to be the third leading cause of death in the US. In the United Kingdom, emphysema is considered to be one of the most common respiratory disorders. There are also some well-known celebrities who have battled this disease.
The principal cause of emphysema is smoking but there are other diseases that can lead to the development of this condition. In some cases, emphysema has no known cause at all. This disease can be fatal. Along with difficulty to breathe, people suffering from this disease may also suffer from swollen ankles and legs.
Unfortunately, emphysema has no cure as the damage done to the lungs cannot be reversed. The treatment usually includes quitting smoking and medications such as corticosteroids and bronchodilators. For people with really low oxygen levels, it is recommended that they use supplemental oxygen for 15 hours per day. Along with these medications, there are various natural remedies and supplements available in the market today that purport to treat emphysema symptoms. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
Created from the enzymes found in the juice and stems of pineapple, bromelain is a supplement that claims to be useful in treating emphysema as it reduces inflammation. However, the National Institutes of Health suggests that there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the efficiency of bromelain. Scientists from the State University of New York who did a review on different supplements found that bromelain was safe to use. However, there are certain side-effects such as bleeding, diarrhea and stomach discomfort linked to its use. It is also advised that this supplement should not be combined with antibiotics or sedatives. People who are allergic to pineapple should not even consider trying bromelain.
Lifestyle change plays a key role in the treatment of emphysema. People suffering from emphysema are encouraged to exercise to build up their fitness. L-Carnitine is usually produced by the body to burn fat and increase energy. When L-Carnitine supplements are taken by emphysema patients, it seems to improve their endurance and strengthen their muscles. There is scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of this supplement in a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biology Research. The findings of this study indicate that those who used L-Carnitine as opposed to a placebo did notably better on the program that was based on walking exercise. The side-effects associated with this supplement include nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, seizures, vomiting and stomach upset.
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