Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) struggle to breathe, coughing and wheezing while their bodies produce extra mucus in their lungs. The condition is progressive, worsening over time, though there are treatments to manage its symptoms.
While there is no cure for COPD at present, those with the condition can retain their quality of life if they manage their condition properly.
What Is COPD?
COPD typically results from extended, long-term exposure to lung irritation, most commonly cigarette smoke. As an inflammatory condition, COPD obstructs airflow from the lungs. Most patients don’t experience symptoms of the illness until they already have significant lung damage.
Additionally, patients with COPD have an increased risk of developing other conditions like heart disease, lung cancer, or pneumonia. When those with COPD continue their exposure to irritants, it can expedite disease progression.
Current medical treatments for COPD include:
- Oral medications
- Bronchodilators or steroids administered through inhalers
- Lung therapies for patients with moderate to severe symptoms
While these treatments can improve symptoms, they cannot reverse the deterioration of lung function that comes with COPD.
How Does Regenerative Medicine Work?
Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is an alternative option for patients when traditional medicine has been exhausted or not bringing relief as hoped. Stem cells are immature or undifferentiated cells that lie dormant in the body until an injury or illness triggers them to divide or differentiate.
While inactive, stem cells don’t serve a specific purpose. However, once activated, they can divide to create more stem cells indefinitely or differentiate into a specialized cell, such as a brain or lung cell.
Stem cell therapy harnesses the differentiation capabilities of mesenchymal stem cells by placing them in an area of the body that’s damaged. Once administered, the stem cells can differentiate into specialized cells to repair and replace damaged cells.
Regenerative Medicine for COPD
Stem cells can differentiate to create new lung tissue, specifically alveolar epithelial cells. Cigarette smoking destroys the alveolar cells, which exchange air and gasses in the lungs. When these cells incur damage, patients experience shortness of breath, and their small airways become hyperinflated through trapped air, losing elasticity.
Early clinical trials show that stem cell therapy has the capability to regenerate alveolar epithelial cells, which can help repair the cause of a patient’s shortness of breath and reduce inflammation.
While researchers are still examining the power of stem cells in treating COPD and the possibilities of the treatment to manage lung damage caused by COPD, early studies indicate that this therapy may hold the key to assisting in restoring lung function.
This post was written by a medical professional at https://www.stemedix.com. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.