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Home > Health & Disease in Naturopathy > Chest Ailments > Emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a serious and debilitating lung disease. In this condition, alveoli, the tiny air sacs in the lungs and bronchioles, the narrow passages leading to the air sacs, become permanently distended with air. The lung tissues lose their elasticity and the number of blood vessels is reduced. It is essentially a chronic disease, which generally occurs after the age of 40. It is less frequent in women.

Symptoms of Emphysema are:
The main symptoms of emphysema is breathlessness followed by coughing. It goes worse with the lapse of time. Eventually the patient is breathless at rest, as the alveoli become so damaged that the exchange of gases between the blood and the air is much impaired. The patient feels difficulty in chewing and swallowing due to breathlessness. There may be discomfort after a meal because the lungs have expanded, pushing the diaphragm into the stomach. Other symptoms include loss of appetite and weight loss.

In severe cases, the chest itself may get enlarged and the movement of the ribs may diminish. The volume of air passed in and out of the lungs at each breath becomes very much less than normal.

Causes of Emphysema:
Emphysema is frequently found in association with asthma and chronic bronchitis. Obstruction of the air passages and infection are thus the main factors which bring about this disease. This weakens the elastic tissues of the lungs. Other causes of emphysema are continuous exposure to dust and high levels of air pollution. Smoking is also an important contributory factor.

Treatment of Emphysema:
To begin with, the patient should undertake a fast on fruit or vegetable juice for five to seven days. During this period, a warm-water enema should be used daily to cleanse the bowels. The juice fast may be followed by an exclusive diet of fresh juicy fruits, such as apple, pineapple, peach, pear, orange and papaya, for further five days or so.

The patient may thereafter gradually adopt a well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits. The diet should be supplemented with vegetable oil, honey and goat`s milk, preferably in sour form like curd and buttermilk. The emphasis hould be on fresh fruits and raw vegetables, as well as fruit and vegetable juices. The short juice fast followed by an all-fruit diet may be repeated at intervals of two months or so, depending on the condition.

Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of emphysema. The most remarkable of these remedies is the use of garlic. Two or three cloves of this vegetable should be chewed daily. A small amount of garlic juice can also be added to vegetable juices.

lemonThe use of lemon or lime is another valuable home remedy for emphysema. A teaspoon of fresh juice of either of the two fruits should be taken several times a day before or between meals.

Amaranth has proved beneficial in the treatment of this disease. Fresh juice should be extracted from this green leafy vegetable. This juice should be mixed with honey and drunk liberally by the patient.

The aniseed has also been found valuable in emphysema due to its expectorant properties. Five to ten drops of aniseed oil should be mixed with one teaspoon of brown sugar. This mixture can be taken with beneficial results In treating this disease. It is old emphysema `cure` in folk Medicine.

The patient should live in a place, with least air pollution and smog-free environment. The chronic bronchitis, which is associated with emphysema must be kept under control as far as prac-ticable through natural methods of treatment. Smoking, if habicable, should be given up completely. Breathing pure oxygen from a cylinder will allow enough of the gas to enter the blood. Weight loss can be overcome by taking frequent small meals consisting of high energy foods.

The patient should undertake mild exercises which help maintain muscle tone and prevent them from becoming rigid. Walking is especially beneficial and the patient should walk atleast five kms. morning and evening daily. He should also undertake deep breathing exercises in fresh air.
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