Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week

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March 13-19, 2016 marks Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week! Individuals with COPD who participate in pulmonary rehabilitation are actively working to improve their lives through exercise and education to better manage their breathing with COPD.

Pulmonary rehabilitation (pulmonary rehab) does not increase lung function, not even a little bit. When lungs are damaged, they’re damaged for good. That’s what makes pulmonary rehab such a challenge compared to cardiac rehab, in which case you can repair and strengthen the heart. Pulmonary rehab, however, is crucial to effective management of COPD. A team of specialists work with the patient to improve overall physical ability, health management, and emotional well-being. Individuals who participate in pulmonary rehab report an improved quality of life, ability to exercise, and mood.

Your regimen can consist of exercising, nutrition counseling, and education about your disease. Instead of just dealing with one physician, you may be working with a team of professionals in the different areas that make part of your rehab program, such as doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, dietitians, and exercise specialists. Education about your disease is an important step in improving your health, and this may be part of your rehab program. You may learn about your symptoms, available treatments, and techniques to manage your symptoms including what to do during an exacerbation.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation To join a program, your doctor must refer you to pulmonary rehabilitation and have spirometry test results that indicate you have COPD. Once admitted, your rehabilitation team will take a complete health history, talk with you about your current level of activity, and help you set goals with you. You will walk as they monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level. It is OK if you cannot walk very far. Pulmonary rehabilitation professionals are experts at working with people with severe shortness of breath, and they’ll make sure you’re safe.

At pulmonary rehabilitation, you will also learn about breathing techniques, medications, nutrition, relaxation, oxygen, travel, how to do everyday tasks with less shortness of breath, and how to stay healthy and avoid COPD exacerbations. Groups discuss common issues around depression, panic, anxiety, and others. A bonus is that you’ll also meet people with COPD who may share many of the same experiences, questions and feelings.

Learn more about the Pulmonary Rehabilitation process by visiting the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) website. You can also watch a COPD Pulmonary Rehab video for free: Take Control of your COPD: A Guide to Better Living.

Looking for a pulmonary rehab in your area? Call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1.866.316.2673, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5p.m. ET.


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  • Hi Palms here is an article about nutrition and breathing. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/td_020909p54.shtml