The World Health Organization (WHO) includes lung disorders such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary under the broad classification of Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD). Patients suffering from any kind of CRD have trouble breathing because of damaged air sacs or alveoli, and airways like in the case of COPD. On the other hand, difficulty in respiration because of allergens and other causes that inflame the airways is a condition called asthma.
Over the last few years, the WHO has been noting some alarming statistics. The organization reports that more than 3 million people die because of COPDs while more than 235 million people all over the world suffer from asthma. Thankfully, several technological advancements are now making it easy for patients to manage COPD and asthma. With the appropriate treatment, CRD need not be a life-threatening condition in the upcoming years.
Here are some of the most interesting innovations that can help if you have the condition.
New MRI Scans for More In-Depth Diagnosis
The correct diagnosis and an in-depth understanding of the severity of your CRD can help you better manage COPD and asthma. The latest development in the field of MRIs has now made it possible for doctors to evaluate just how well your lungs are processing the air you inhale. CTV News reports on a new kind of MRI testing in which patients are asked to inhale a special gas. Scans of the lungs taken right afterward give a clear picture of the airways and alveoli that are receiving air and the sections where air does not reach. With these results in hand, doctors can design more effective therapies and treatments that can help you get relief from the difficulty in breathing you sense.
Dr. Parameswaran Nair is the professor of Medicine at McMaster University and respirologist at the St. Joseph’s Firestone Institute. He is one of the researchers who participated in the study on the procedure. He says, “So this is an exciting new tool that will help us see where the air is going, get a handle on the reason why the air is not going into certain parts of the lungs. And use new therapies to fix those problems.”
Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP Nebulizers
Some of the most effective solutions that patients rely on to manage COPD and asthma are nebulizers and inhalers. The medications in these devices can assist breathing by opening up the airways so oxygen can pass easily into the lungs. Most of the compounds or steam used in the nebulizers provide only temporary relief. You may find that environmental conditions often trigger attacks and interfere with day-to-day living.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy uses an innovative serum that doctors can deliver into your lungs with the help of nebulizers. PRP is a natural serum extracted from your blood and works to repair the damaged alveoli and airways for long-term relief from the different kinds of CRD. Although insurance does not cover PRP therapy, the latest innovations in the field have successfully lowered PRP kit prices to a point where the treatment is now well within the reach of the average patient.
To date, doctors have been prescribing inhaled corticosteroids and other medications to open the airways and help patients. By inhaling these medicines with the help of inhalers, patients can get relief from the symptoms and manage COPD and asthma.
However, like the president and chief executive officer of the Allergy & Asthma Network, Tonya A. Winders reported to Healthline, “Standard of care works for approximately 90 percent of all patients when taken correctly and as prescribed. On the other hand, studies show about 50 percent of patients with asthma are not well controlled, which leads us to believe more can be done to increase adherence.”
Technology has come up with a perfect solution to help patients take medications according to the prescriptions – Bluetooth-enabled smart inhalers. These devices can help you in different ways and are now even compatible with your smartphone. Here’s everything that these devices can do to help you manage COPD and asthma flares:
- Remind you to take your medication
- Record the usage of the inhaler like the date, time, and location, and inform if the dosage was correct
- Guide you on the proper way to use the inhaler
- Send the relevant data and readings to an online app on your phone so you can receive better healthcare
- Help your medical practitioners match the data with your symptoms so they can gauge the patterns of the attacks when you have them
MT-2 Medication for COPD
In recent times, researchers at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Shanghai University have developed a new medicine that can help patients manage COPD and asthma. Results of the clinical studies published in the Science Translational Medicine talk about isolating a new protein metallothionein-2 (MT-2) that is naturally produced in the body. MT-2 works to open the airways and smooth the cells of the lungs so that they are able to process oxygen better. However, because the concentrations of MT-2 are too low in asthmatic patients, the protein does not work like it should.
Doctors have identified an MT-2-based medication called TSG12 that is safe for humans and can help bring relief from breathing difficulties. Clinical studies are still in progress, but Rutgers immunologist Luis Ulloa says, “It is not a cure, but I think this treatment will give people a lot of hope. There are a growing number of patients with no alternative because the current treatments either have critical side effects or aren’t working. We hope this will give patients a better option.”
Incidences of Chronic Respiratory Diseases may be on the rise in recent times. But, the newest developments in the field of technology can help you manage COPD and asthma. Rest assured that these conditions are no longer life-threatening. And, with the right medications and inhalers, you can live a normal life.