With the internet and Google at our fingertips, it’s easy to find all sorts of advice, options and less conventional means of controlling or managing the symptoms of chronic lung diseases. However, many of these solutions are untested or have minimal proof of benefit.
It’s important to get medical and clinical advice before beginning any sort of treatment or therapy to help control your lung disease.
In conjunction with medications typically prescribed, the following options are proven to work, though you should keep in mind that results vary due to severity of disease and lung damage already present:
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation is proven to help decrease symptoms, reduce number of exacerbations, improve lung function and, in some cases, help to decrease the amount of oxygen therapy needed.
- Breathing exercises/relaxation exercises
- Yoga and Tai Chi aim to calm the mind, which helps to calm the body and its responses to stress.
- Watch what you eat. Carbohydrates release carbon dioxide, which is already hard to expel with COPD. An excess will increase your breathing rate and make you feel more short of breath.
Here are some unproven therapies:
- Acupuncture, Ginseng and XCP paste—check with a doctor trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine before beginning any of these.
- Eucalyptus Oil can cause lung irritation and adversely interact with certain medications.
- Vitamin D has been proven in some small studies to prevent exacerbations, but requires taking extremely large doses. Instead try to add the foods high in Vitamin D to your diet, such as cheese and egg yolks. Foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as some dairy products, orange juice, cereals, and Omega-3 fatty fish (tuna, salmon and mackerel).