Tobacco smoking contains an addictive drug called nicotine. Since the federal government's sobering report in 1964 on the hazards of smoking, millions of people have kicked the habit. Smoking dramatically increases a person's chance of developing lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But even with the facts, about 430,000 U.S. residents die yearly from diseases related to cigarette smoking. The U.S. surgeon general says smoking is the most preventable cause of early death in this country.
We all have respiratory symptoms from time to time, such as occasional coughing from a cold or flu. Because these symptoms are so common, we sometimes ignore them, even when they persist and begin to interfere with daily activities. This is especially true for older adults, who tend to downplay the importance of chronic coughing or a breathing problem until it becomes serious. We often tend to think these problems are simply caused by being old, overweight, or out of shape. We also tend to adjust our lifestyle and activity level to make up for less ability to exercise, often without thinking about it.
Aromatherapy Take deep inhalations of eucalyptus and sweet thyme.
Herbal Medicine A cupful of elecampane infusion, three times daily, can be helpful in clearing mucus and easing a bronchial cough. And taking garlic capsules every night in winter and herbal teas cold twice daily may help prevent a recurrence of acute bronchitis.
Consult a qualified practitioner/therapist for:
Homeopathy Remedies will be prescribed for the individual case but may include the following: Aconite 6c for fever, tight chest, tickly cough, and thirst might be recommended; Kali bich. 6c when there is loose white sputum, a rattling cough, and irritability; Phosphorus 6c for voice loss, burning throat, cough, and thirst; Pulsatilla for dry
cough at night when lying down, lack of thirst, and loose green sputum in the morning.
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Traditional Chinese Medicine This treatment aims to improve lung energy with remedies such as plantain seed, balloon flower root, honeysuckle flowers, or gardenia fruit.
The diagnosis and treatment of persistent respiratory symptoms depends on the underlying problem. Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, review your current medications, and perform a physical examination.
This may suggest a treatment that can be tried to see if it resolves the problem. For example, otherwise healthy people with a persistent cough might first be prescribed medication to control asthma or post-nasal drip, depending on their history and physical examination. If the condition does not improve or worsens, further diagnostic tests may be necessary, such as x-rays, bacterial culture of the sputum, an electrocardiogram (ECG), examination of the airways (by endoscopy), or sophisticated breathing studies.
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