By Phoebe Brown
For Pittsburgh Senior News
Diagnosis with chronic diseases can pose issues with living life fully, navigating the healthcare industry and finding the right treatment options. For people with lung diseases, treatment options which address the disease itself are scarce. Even Hollywood has noticed how lack of treatment options affects people.
Movies like Dallas Buyers Club illustrate the struggles of being diagnosed with a chronic, progressive disease with few treatment options. The main character, Ron Woodroof, was diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 1986. With limited treatment options, Woodroof refused to succumb to AIDS without a fight. He researched various medicine combinations only available in other countries.
Along with his doctor and another patient, Woodroof founded the Dallas Buyers Club in 1988, providing AIDS patients with smuggled medications. Woodroof lost his fight with AIDS in September 1992. Because he could see beyond the complacency of the medical community and sought alternative treatment options, he extended his life six years longer than his physicians thought possible.
Like Woodroof, patients with lung diseases are often prescribed the traditional regimen, which only addresses disease symptoms. However, medical advancements now provide people with another treatment option. A specialty clinic in the U.S., the Lung Institute (www.lunginstitute.com), treats people with COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases using stem cells from the patient’s own body.
Stem cells act as the body’s healing system. The body alerts them and sends them to the place that needs repair. The physicians at the Lung Institute realized this and developed a procedure to help stem cells do their job better.
Physicians extract stem cells from a patient’s blood or bone marrow tissue, separate them and return them intravenously. The cells travel through the heart and into the lungs where they aggregate. Once there, they can promote healing, potentially improving lung function.
Although Woodroof lacked alternative treatment options in the U.S., options are available for people with chronic lung diseases. With clinics nationwide, the Lung Institute has treated over 2,500 patients. A recent Lung Institute study indicated that 82 percent of patients saw an increase in quality of life after treatment, and 60 percent of those who took a pulmonary function test reported an increase in lung function. With medical advancements like stem cell therapy, addressing the disease at its source offers people an alternative that is helping them regain their quality of life.
If you or a loved one suffer from a chronic lung disease, the specialists at the Lung Institute may be able to help. You can contact the Lung Institute at (855) 978-5767 or visit lunginsitute.com/SeniorNews to find out if you qualify for these new treatments.