Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Dr. Stanley Monteith, MD, retired Orthopedic Surgeon
interviews W. G. Miller, author of
"How I Reversed My Mom's Emphysema"

 

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While Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease is technically correct, the disease is generally referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is actually a group of diseases that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis and oftentimes asthma. If you have any of these diseases, your doctor may have stated the diagnosis as the more general Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD instead of stating the specific disease. Sometimes additional testing is required before a specific diagnosis can be arrived at so they may have written COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as the diagnosis until the results of the additional tests are provided by the lab.

My Mother's COPD Story

My mother was diagnosed with emphysema and COPD in 2003. She had smoked for about 40 years so it was no surprise. No signs of the disease were visible early on, yet I knew what was coming. I had worked in a hospital many years earlier and remembered the COPD patients' repeated visits each time looking a little more disheveled. I eventually would not see them anymore and knew they had succumbed to this horrible disease, COPD.

My mother in the early stages of recovery from COPD and emphysema.

The Pharmaceutical COPD Drugs

I hoped that in the years since my hospital work the pharmaceutical and medical industries had got it together and solved this big mystery of what was causing the progression of these chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. It was not known whether they were all caused by the same thing or if each COPD disease was being caused by something different.

All they knew was that the drugs they developed would treat the symptoms and provide temporary relief from these symptoms until the effects of the drugs wore off. Then the patient would generally be right back where they started before taking the drug.

Some drug manufacturers claimed that their COPD drug would actually slow the progress of the disease. None claimed that their drug would stop the disease progression and not one claimed their drug would cure the disease.

It seemed the pharmaceutical companies had developed a number of new drugs and they were making billions of dollars for their investors, yet the cause of the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease remained a big mystery. They knew smoking and second-hand smoke caused chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but they could not explain why the disease continued progressing after the patient quit smoking.

In the 25 years since I had worked in that hospital they had not made any headway in explaining what was causing the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease! I was shocked! All these new, very expensive, patented drugs that dont even stop the progress of COPD!

Alternative COPD Treatments

When I checked on alternative COPD treatments there was not much information. Since there is nowhere near the profits in nutritional supplements as there are in pharmaceutical drugs, there was very little research being done in this area. I found a Naturopath named Dr. Robert Green who kept his father alive for 16 years after his emphysema and COPD diagnosis. His book, "Natural Therapies for Emphysema and COPD: Relief and Healing for Chronic Pulmonary Disorders" details his methods.

Natural Therapies for Emphysema and COPD

Even though Dr. Green had not solved the big mystery of why chronic obstructive pulmonary disease progresses, he had managed to slow some of the effects of emphysema and COPD for his father. They were the first helpful alternative COPD treatments I found. Something Dr. Green said confirmed my suspicion about the prescription drugs,

"The advantage of nutrition and other natural therapies over conventional treatments is that they aim not just to address symptoms, but also to reduce inflammation, heal damaged tissue, restore biochemical balance, and otherwise correct problems at a fundamental level."

This made so much more sense than what I had been hearing from the medical industry.

In regards to the role of nutrition in health and healing, Dr. Green goes on to say,

"Scientific research in the field of nutritional biochemistry continues to reveal new information regarding the role of nutrients in human metabolism. Today we not only have a better understanding of the relationship between nutrition and health, but we also understand more about how nutritional therapies can help prevent and eradicate illness.

We all know that we are supposed to "eat right" in order to be healthy, but few Americans have been taught what it means to eat a truly healthful diet. The consequences of poor eating habits are all around us. Heart disease, obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes are just some of the health problems that are directly related to the typical American diet.

COPD is not caused by a poor diet, but the severity of its symptoms is definitely influenced by the kinds of foods we eat."

All in all, this book was very helpful in that it provided some of the first natural or alternative treatments that I used in reversing my mother's emphysema and COPD. It also caused me to realize that there are natural and alternative treatments that actually work and actually make logical sense biochemically.

Cause of COPD Progression Hypothesis

I did not realize it at the time but finding these alternative treatments and others that were even more effective, and understanding why they were working biochemically, helped me in eventually developing a hypothesis which, I believe, describes the cause of the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and its related diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and bronchiectasis.

My hypothesis as to why COPD progresses long after smoking cessation is,

“Smoking introduces a pathogen into the lungs that begins proliferating immediately and will continue for years, even decades unless it is systematically attacked and killed.”

Additionally, as the proliferation of this pathogen progresses, the body adapts by distending the lungs eventually causing the condition known as "barrel chest." The medical and pharmaceutical industries are unable to explain the presence of barrel chest.

Continual distention of the lungs over years and possibly decades, eventually causes the lungs to crowd the stomach making normal-sized meals impossible. This generally signals the beginning of "End Stage" or "Stage IV" and severe weight loss as the patient is eventually unable to eat enough food to maintain normal body weight.

At this stage of the disease, if no alternative treatments are used, the patient is near the end. Without some alternative treatment that will interrupt this process, the patient will continue deteriorating, losing more weight and requiring additional supplemental oxygen. We have all seen these people sitting in wheelchairs with an air hose in their nose, an oxygen tank strapped to the chair and looking very emaciated like "skin and bones."

This explained what I had been observing with my mother's emphysema and COPD.

  1. Patients are diagnosed years and even decades after smoking cessation. Why? The pathogen was still growing and proliferating in their lungs.
  2. The drugs do not starve this pathogen or kill it so they do not stop the progress of COPD and instead, only mask symptoms temporarily. Some of the drug manufacturers claim their drug slows the progress of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease however, they are the ones that did the testing that determined this. For me, this nullifies the results they claim.
  3. Quitting smoking will not prevent COPD or stop the progress of COPD. Think of the people you know who have quit smoking only to be diagnosed with COPD years or even decades later.
  4. My mother's food intake decreased as her supplemental oxygen requirement increased. Why? Because the pathogen was occupying more and more of her lung volume, her body was adapting by distending her lungs which were crowding her stomach preventing normal-sized meals.

Granted I had no proof this hypothesis was valid yet. I needed to try the diet on my mother and I. She was now in End Stage, weighed only 77 pounds and required 4 liters of supplemental oxygen. She could only sleep for about an hour before waking in the middle of an exacerbation. She could only eat about a cup of food at each sitting. She would tell me that if she tried to eat any more she couldn't breathe. Why? Because her already crowded stomach was beginning to crowd her lungs making breathing even more difficult. I knew she did not have much time left and I was desperate to try something.

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