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The Global Impact of COPD

Posted on September 21, 2017

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A new Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal reports that chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma accounted for 3.6 million deaths in 2015.

The Global Burden of Disease is a collaborative project spanning 127 countries formed to assess the burden of diseases and injuries in terms of mortality, disability and cost of treatment.

The Seriousness of COPD

COPD affects over 30 million Americans and 65 million people around the world. Two of the most common chronic lung diseases classified as COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

COPD causes the airways of the lungs to swell and some small airways to collapse. COPD also destroys lung tissue over time in many people.

Smoking, air pollution and exposure to lung irritants are common causes of COPD.

COPD is a group of chronic lung conditions that cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness of the chest. More serious complications of the disease include pneumonia, high blood pressure and heart failure.

Asthma affects 25 million Americans and over 300 million people globally, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Common causes of asthma include allergens, air pollution and smoking. Asthma causes airways to become inflamed and filled with mucus, causing breathing difficulty.

Although asthma is more common than COPD, people with COPD have an eight times greater risk of death than people with asthma.

The risk of dying for people with COPD is so high because many people with COPD often go undiagnosed. The COPD Foundation estimates that half of the 30 million Americans with COPD are undiagnosed and without treatment.

Others are undertreated or do not respond to conventional therapies. Many people with COPD report a negative quality of life because of the side effects of their COPD treatment.

Stem Cells Therapy Can Replace Conventional COPD Treatments

Treatments for COPD include steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, oxygen and pulmonary therapy, and for severe cases or cases unresponsive to treatment, lung surgery.

“Conventional treatments for COPD often have serious side effects like weight gain, tremors, infection and the risk of development of cataracts and diabetes,” according to Joel Singer, M.D.

Singer is a New York physician who treats patients with COPD, asthma and other lung diseases using stem cell therapy.

Singer uses stem cells collected from the adipose fat tissue of COPD and asthma patients. These stem cells, known as adipose fat stem cells, or ASCs, help to reduce inflammation caused by infection and irritation and to heal damaged lung tissue.

“Stem cells are undifferentiated cells in the body that have the power to develop into any tissue, making them valuable for treating many conditions, including lung disease,” Singer said.

Using Fat Stem Cells to Treat the Lungs

While lung stem cells could be used to heal damaged lung tissue, the number of lung cells collected would be minimal in comparison to the number to stem cells harvested from fat.

Since the number of stem cells collected from the lungs would be small, the lung stem cells must be cultured for days in a laboratory to build enough to provide any benefit to the patient.

“The large number of stem cells collected from adipose fat tissue can give people with COPD and other lung diseases improvement after just one treatment,” Singer said.

Singer harvests fat from lung disease patients through a specialized liposuction procedure. The ASCs are filtered from the blood and other tissue and then redeployed back into the patient.

Once deployed, the ASCs go to work healing damaged lung tissue.

People who undergo stem cell therapy for COPD or other lung diseases report increases in oxygen intake and saturation as well as increased activity and mobility.

Sources:

The Lancet. “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused 3.2 million deaths worldwide in 2015.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2017.

COPD Foundation. COPD Statistics Across America. 2017.

American Academy of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology. Asthma Statistics. 2017.

 

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