There is hope for patients suffering from chronic lung disease. Tri-County Health Care’s pulmonary rehabilitation program can help patients rebuild strength to enjoy a more full and active life through exercise training, health education and breathing techniques.
What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that teaches patients to live and breathe better with chronic lung disease. The program is run by a team of medical professionals who are specially trained to treat people with lung disease. With the team’s help, patients learn about their condition and gain skills to help manage it. Pulmonary rehab often takes place in a group setting. This means there will be support from others who are experiencing the same concerns, fears and goals.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Obstructions or blockages in the airways make breathing harder and can affect gas exchange. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a category of diseases usually caused by smoking.
More mucus is produced than normal. Mucus builds up and blocks airways. The airways may become inflamed so there is less space for air to pass.
Damaged airways lose their stretchiness, or elasticity, and get baggy. They may collapse upon exhale, trapping air in the sacs. This trapped air makes breathing harder and over time, air sacs lose their clustered shape. This may mean less oxygen enters the blood vessels.
The airways become inflamed and narrow. The muscles surrounding the airways go into spasms and tighten, making it hard for air to pass through.
Interstitial Lung Disease
Scarring of inflammation damages small airways in the lungs, making breathing harder and may interfere with oxygen entering the blood vessels.
People who have cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, lung cancer, and other chronic lung diseases can also benefit from pulmonary rehab. In addition, pulmonary rehab can help people who have had or who are preparing for lung surgery.
The physician and pulmonary rehab team will work together to develop a treatment plan. The physician reviews all options for the patient and goes over the best treatment plan based on needs. The pulmonary rehab team will help the patient understand the treatment plan and how to make good use of it.
Treatment plans vary based on conditions and symptoms. Treatments include:
- Breathing retraining
- Energy conservation and pacing techniques
- Treatment for anxiety or depression
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Techniques for coping with chronic illness
- Special diet
- Symptom management and prevention
- Help for sleep disorders
- Airway clearance techniques