Stem cell therapy for COPD strives to find a long-term solution for the condition. By improving the health of the lungs, the stem cells help slow the progression of the disease. Early research into stem cell treatments shows it may help improve your quality of life.
What to Know About Stem Cell Therapy for COPD
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is also called COPD, is a lung condition. The condition causes difficulty in breathing due to problems in the lungs. It falls into two main categories: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. For many individuals with COPD, they have both conditions causing problems with breathing.
The condition is chronic and progressive. This means it gets worse over time. There is no known cure for the disease, but research into embryonic stem cells may improve COPD patients’ quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms of COPD
The symptoms of COPD develop when you have a large amount of lung damage. Identifying the symptoms of the lung condition allows you to seek medical treatment.
Symptoms and signs of COPD include:
- Excessive coughing
- Increased mucus when coughing
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath, especially with physical exercise
- Lack of energy
- Weight loss
- Tightness in your chest
The obvious sign of the condition is coughing. Do not ignore a chronic cough that seems to worsen. It may suggest bronchitis, emphysema, or COPD.
Causes of COPD
The causes of COPD depend on your lifestyle and situation. The risk of the condition increases if you smoke cigarettes. Individuals with asthma who also smoke have a high risk of the condition.
Your job may also contribute to the condition. If you work in a smoke-filled or dusty environment, then you may develop COPD. Exposure to certain chemicals may also increase your risk of lung damage and inflammation.
Aging contributes to the condition as well. Older adults have a higher rate of COPD. Part of the risk stems from long-term exposure to potential risk factors. The damage caused by these risks to your lungs accumulates over time.
Genetic factors also contribute to COPD. A genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (A1AD or AATD) causes the condition in some people. Although the genetic condition is uncommon, other genetic factors may increase the risk of the condition if you are also a smoker.
COPD Stem Cell Treatments
Since the condition does not have a known cure, treatment for COPD focuses on improving your quality of life instead. Stem cell therapy for COPD is a potential solution to help rebuild your lung tissue.
Doctors find stem cells in your body and lungs. The cells self-renew and become any cell in your body. By treating COPD with stem cell therapy, you improve your quality of life.
The treatment starts with obtaining stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are not the only treatment option. A doctor may also suggest umbilical cord blood stem cells or stem cells from your body. In COPD treatments, doctors usually use your own stem cells. Since your own stem cells will not react poorly with your body, it has a lower risk of rejection.
After obtaining the cells, doctors use an IV to the right side of the heart. From the heart, blood flows to the lungs within one or two beats. The blood passes through the system carrying oxygen, but the stem cells stay in the lungs. Stem cells remain dormant until you injure your body. By introducing the cells to your lung, you encourage them to specialize in lung cells.
Costs Associated with Stem Cell Treatment
Stem cell therapy for COPD cost varies based on your location and treatment center. Since stem cell therapy is not approved by the FDA for COPD, it is still categorized as experimental. An experimental treatment means a health insurance plan does not cover your treatments.
Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for the therapy. Discuss the treatment with your medical doctor or treatment specialist. Keep in mind that experimental treatments do have certain risks. Even using your own stem cells for the therapy has potential risks. Ask about potential complications before going through therapy. Avoid treatments without clinical trials to show potential complications or risks. The stem cell therapy for COPD cost is not worth the price if it does not help with your symptoms.
Know more about stem cell treatment to cure COPD with this report from Fox News.
Treating COPD raises many concerns about your health. Traditional treatments focus on using inhalers to reduce inflammation. When you want to ease your symptoms, stem cell therapy for COPD may help. The challenge is finding a treatment that helps without risking your health. Work with your doctor to avoid unnecessary risks and complications.
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