What is lung rejuvenation?
Lung rejuvenation is the process of repairing the damage caused by irritants (like cigarette smoke) in the lungs and respiratory tract. This is possible through the process of sending healthy cells to the lungs to multiply and spread over the damaged area, dissolving the damaged cells. Sometimes, stress and toxic exposures cause more and more damage to accumulate, making it very difficult for your body to repair on its own. That’s where PRP, platelet-rich plasma, comes into play.
Respiratory System Regeneration
Treatment of Smoker’s Cough
The human respiratory system is a series of organs responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. The primary organs of the respiratory system are lungs, which carry out this exchange of gases as we breathe. With each breath, oxygen enters the nose or mouth, passing the sinuses, which help humidify the inhaled air. The air then enters the trachea, also called the windpipe, filtering the inhaled air. The trachea branches off into bronchi, which are tubes that carry air into each lung. The bronchial tubes are lined with tiny hairs called cilia, which move back and forth, carrying mucus up and out. Mucus is a sticky fluid that collects dust and germs, and helps to protect against irritants.
The bronchial tubes lead to the lobes of the lungs. The right lung has three lobes; the left lung has two, which allows extra room for the heart. Lobes are filled with small, spongy sacs called alveoli, which is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs. The alveolar walls are extremely thin (about 0.2 micrometers). These walls are composed of a single layer of tissues called epithelial cells and tiny blood vessels called pulmonary capillaries.
As blood passes through these capillaries, the red blood cells collect the oxygen and carry it to the parts of the body where it is needed. The red blood cells also collect carbon dioxide and transport it back to the lungs, where it leaves the body when we exhale.
The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the lungs, controls breathing and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. When a breath it taken, it flattens out and pulls forward, making more space for the lungs. During exhalation, the diaphragm expands and forces air out.
Causes and Symptoms of Smoking
The airways are lined with cilia: tiny hair-like cells that catch toxins in inhaled air and move them upwards toward the mouth. Smoking paralyzes these cells so they’re unable to do their job. Instead of being caught in transit, toxins are allowed to enter the lungs, where they settle and create inflammation. Smoking and introducing other toxic chemicals to the respiratory tract causes a “smoker’s cough” – a persistent cough that develops in long-term smokers. The term persistent means that it’s present for more than two to three weeks. At first, it may be dry (in smokers who haven’t smoked for very long), but over time it usually produces phlegm. This phlegm, or sputum, can be clear, white, yellow, or even green or brown. A smoking-related cough is usually worse upon awakening and improves over the remainder of the day. This results from the cilia that begin to repair themselves at night, since they’re no longer exposed to the toxins in smoke. As the cilia are called upon to catch and remove the accumulated toxins, the result is an increase in coughing upon arising in the morning. Of course, there are many exceptions, and you never want to dismiss a morning cough.
It’s also important to keep in mind that coughing has a function: it’s designed to clean the airways by removing foreign materials that are breathed in. In addition to the irritants in cigarette and cigar smoke, there are other materials in the environment that may be contributing to your symptoms. Whether mold from a wet basement, exhaust from a wood stove or fireplace, or exposures to chemicals at work, check to see if there are any irritants in your environment you should try to avoid to improve your cough. Since coughing has a function, suppressing the cough reflex is not always a good idea.
Now that we know the functionality, we can now understand the importance of maintaining a healthy respiratory system. The lack of healthy lungs can lead to a variety of lung conditions and respiratory disorders. These conditions range from the common cold, asthma, to pneumonia, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder). Symptoms from these conditions include coughing, throat irritation, runny nose, wheezing, and even difficulty breathing or catching your breath. Once damage has occurred in the respiratory tract, it is important to repair and rejuvenate the damaged organs. The body can naturally heal itself to a certain extent. The body’s immune system targets damaged or invading cells, kills and dissolves them so that new healthy cells can multiply and rejuvenate the damaged area. Although, the body can only do so much, naturally. Once extensive damage has occurred, and the body cannot keep up with the disorder, causing even more cell death and damage to occur. This is where lung rejuvenation comes into place.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
In order to understand what PRP is, let’s understand first the different components of our blood. Our blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.
Red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygen throughout the body, and transporting carbon dioxide back to the lungs for expulsion.
White blood cells make up your immune system. White blood cells fight bodily infections, and also are involved in allergic reactions.
Platelets are responsible for promoting clotting of the blood during bleeding or hemorrhaging. They also carry growth factors, and promote cell multiplication, which accelerates the healing of hard and soft tissues.
Plasma is the liquid component of blood that everything suspends in. Plasma contains albumin, which is a key factor in keeping fluid from leaking out of cells. Plasma also plays a major role in body temperature regulation.
When someone has an injury, platelets clump together to form a plug and clot the site of injury. These platelets are then activated and induce inflammatory responses from monocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes – different types of white blood cells. This in turn starts the wound healing process. So, platelet-rich plasma promotes the body’s natural healing process, by inducing white blood cell interaction with the damaged or injured site, and new and healthy cell promotion.
If blood is made up of all of these components, how do we separate the red and white blood cells, so we are left with the platelet-rich plasma?
It starts with a standard blood draw. Once the patient’s blood is drawn, the blood vials are placed into a centrifuge where the platelet-rich plasma serum is separated from the red and white blood cells. Once the serum is separated, it is collected and placed into an atomizer, also called a nebulizer.
Atomizers work by sending compressed oxygen at a high velocity through the liquid medication (the blood serum in this case), which turns it into an aerosol, which is then inhaled by the patient through a face mask.
By nebulizing the platelet-rich plasma, the lungs and respiratory tract are able to absorb these fine particles of aerosolized blood serum, causing respiratory rejuvenation. In COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder), the tissues and cells of the lungs are damaged or destroyed, which causes various types of symptoms and complications. By administering PRP, we are increasing the number of platelets in the lungs, which decreases inflammation, and accelerates the body’s natural healing process for the damaged areas of the lungs. Therefore, with the help of your own body’s PRP, the destroyed or damaged cells can be regenerated, promoting new and healthy lung tissue.