Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Conventional COPD Treatments vs. Alternative COPD Treatments
My mother was first diagnosed with emphysema and COPD early in 2003. I had worked in a hospital more than 20 years earlier and remembered the COPD, chronic bronchitis and emphysema patients slowly deteriorating with each successive visit until I did not see them anymore. I realized sadly that they had most likely succumbed to the disease. I now realized my mother was on her way down that same road. My only hope early on was that new medications had been developed that would cure COPD and emphysema or at least stop its progress. I soon found out that they had not. They had new, very expensive drugs but none that cured or stopped the progress of the disease.
I made certain my mother took every prescribed medication, did every ordered nebulizer treatment each day and attended Pulmonary Rehab twice a week. The combination, according to the doctors, would slow the progress of the disease which, at this time, was our only hope.
I began researching emphysema and COPD the day my mother was diagnosed. I found nothing but the bad news detailing the progression of the disease and the unknown mechanism causing this progression. I soon realized that I was ending up on web sites owned, operated or controlled by either the pharmaceutical or medical industries. I decided it was time I explored the alternatives to these drugs. I could see the drugs were temporarily masking symptoms however, as soon as the drug wore off, my mother was right back where she was before taking the drug with no lasting improvement. I reasoned that these drugs would be used solely for masking symptoms since that was all they did anyway. I do not believe for one second that they slow the progress of the disease as they claim. Remember, the pharmaceutical company that develops the drug is the one that does the testing. The fox watching the hen house. Their results are all flawed, in my opinion.
After more than 2 years of researching alternative treatments and observing my mother's deteriorating condition, I developed a logical "Disease Progression Model" hypothesis that I believe describes the mechanism causing the progression of COPD and emphysema. This Disease Progression Model I developed is as follows:
"Smoking introduces a pathogen into the lungs that begins proliferating immediately and continues proliferating until it is stopped or the patient succumbs to the disease. As the pathogen proliferates the body adapts by distending the lungs creating additional surface area for gas exchange (breathing). The distending lungs eventually result in a condition common to emphysema and COPD patients known as 'barrel chest.' The pathogen continues proliferating and the body continues adapting until the distending lungs eventually begin crowding the stomach making normal-sized meals impossible. This problem reaches critical mass when the patient can no longer eat enough food to cover normal body functioning and severe weight loss occurs. This is the final stage of the disease."
I believe this is why people who have quit smoking are diagnosed years, even decades later with emphysema and COPD. The pathogen was proliferating the entire time.
I know the medical and pharmaceutical industries disagree with me however, when I began applying this Disease Progression Model to my mother's treatment she began improving almost immediately! Granted these improvements were small and subtle in the beginning but the significance of the improvements was that they were the first improvements my mother had shown since her diagnosis and the improvements were permanent, allowing us to build upon them each day from then on!
I did ask one of my mother's doctors why her emphysema and COPD were progressing. After all, she quit smoking after her diagnosis and by January of 2006 after not smoking for more than 2 years she was in "End Stage." She had deteriorated down to only 77 pounds and required 4 liters of continuous supplemental oxygen. Her doctor first gave me some medical rhetoric stating that it might be the alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. I had covered this genetic disorder in my research. I told him that we both knew that my mother's problem was from 40 years of smoking and not from a genetic disorder that generally shows up in the 20's or 30's void of any smoking. He then told me something that surprised me.
He said, "We don't know why emphysema and COPD progress so long after smoking cessation. It's a mystery."
I decided right then and there that I would research emphysema and COPD until I either solved this big mystery or my mother took her last breath! Luckily, after more than 6500 hours of research over more than 4 years my mother had completely recovered. The first step was a diet I found that was being used by two prominent researchers.
More on the diet and other alternative treatments that produced the results in the next posting.
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