Being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be alarming. This condition can greatly impact your quality of life since it causes you to struggle to breathe. There is no exact cure, and while conventional treatments can offer some relief, they don't work consistently for everyone. An approach you may want to consider is stem cell treatment. This therapy is still not a cure for COPD, but it does show a lot of promise and has some advantages over conventional treatments. Keep reading to learn more about stem cell treatment for COPD.
What is stem cell treatment?
Stem cells are non-differentiated cells. They can differentiate into almost any type of cell in the body. Your doctor can isolate some stem cells from your own bone marrow, and then inject those cells into tissues that need healing. If they inject the stem cells into your lungs, they will differentiate into lung cells. Those new, healthy lung cells will replace some of the unhealthy cells that are affected by COPD. With more fresh, healthy cells, your lungs will be better able to function.
Does stem cell treatment hurt?
Unfortunately, this treatment will initially cause some discomfort. Doctors will have to use a large needle to draw bone marrow out of your bones so the stem cells can be removed from that bone marrow. They'll give you some local anesthetic before this procedure, but you will be sore as you heal. The stem cells will then be introduced to your lungs. This part is not painful; it basically just involves inhaling a special gas that contains the stem cells and other substances that will encourage them to "take."
How long does it take to feel the effects?
The effects of stem cell treatment are not instant. They may take a few months to develop. As the stem cells differentiate into lung cells, you will find that your lungs start to feel healthier and stronger. You may be able to take deeper breaths, and each breath may feel more satisfying. You'll likely notice that you cough and sputter less, and your stamina may also improve. The results won't always be permanent, but they will be long-lasting. You can have another stem cell treatment, if needed, a few years later.
If you've been diagnosed with COPD, talk to your doctor about COPD stem cell treatment. It's not a perfect option for everyone, but it does work well for many patients.