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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a specialized medical program developed to help people with lung diseases breathe and live better. If you suffer from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we suggest you join a pulmonary rehabilitation program where you will learn about different breathing techniques and exercises.

Who Should Join a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is designed for patients with lung diseases who have to deal with shortness of breath regularly, which stops them from performing daily activities despite taking medications regularly.

Though people with COPD are the perfect candidate for pulmonary rehabilitation, people suffering from other chronic lung diseases that restrict their activity and breathing can also benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation.

People with certain lung diseases such as:

● Asthma,
● Pulmonary hypertension
● Cystic fibrosis

These are some of the diseases that can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation. It allows them to breathe better and enhance their quality of life. The program is also helpful for individuals with scoliosis or similar health conditions negatively affecting their lungs.

In many instances, patients who may be seeking surgery for lung cancer or lung transplant are excellent candidates for pulmonary rehabilitation before and after their treatment.

What are the Advantages of Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

By joining a pulmonary rehabilitation program, people can see an increase in their strength and stamina and a reduction in symptoms of depression or anxiety. As a result, they can manage work, routine activities, social activities, and outings better to enjoy life.

What are the Risks Associated with Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

A few risks can be associated with pulmonary rehabilitation, but they are extremely rare. For instance, engaging in physical activity can cause bone or muscle injuries.

Suppose you experience severe problems during the supervised sessions, your team will immediately stop the session and contact a doctor to provide appropriate treatment right away.

Whom are the Experts Involved in Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Your pulmonary rehabilitation team will include doctors, physical therapists, nurses, exercise specialists, respiratory therapists, and dieticians. Together, they will curate a personalized program that can meet your specific needs.

How Does Pulmonary Rehabilitation Work?

In the beginning, your healthcare team will chalk out your pulmonary rehabilitation plan by doing the following tests:

Breathing Tests – It helps in checking how your lungs are functioning overall
Exercise Stress Test – It is used for measuring your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level while you do exercise
Six-Minute Walk Test – It measures how far you’re able to walk in six minutes

Your pulmonary rehabilitation could be done in a clinic or hospital, or you may choose to learn breathing exercises or physical therapy at your home. Some programs offer smartphone-based lessons or activity monitors to keep track of your progress.

Typically, your pulmonary rehabilitation program will include the following education and training –


You’ll be asked to participate in individual or group sessions where experts will answer any questions you might have regarding your lung illness, along with guidance to manage it effectively. During these sessions, you’ll get to learn –

● How do lungs work, and what are the right ways of taking medicines?
● How to recognize flare-up signs early and manage or avoid them altogether?
● How to quit smoking and other habits that impact your breathing?
● How to conserve more energy to stop feeling out of breath while performing regular activities? You may have to avoid activities that require bending, lifting, and reaching.
● How to relieve or avoid stress?

Breathing Techniques

Experts will teach you how to perform specific breathing techniques correctly, such as yoga breathing and pursed-lip breathing. With the help of these techniques, you will be able to control your breathing better and won’t feel out of breath, mainly when you’re under stress or physically active. You will also learn different ways to remove mucus from your lungs.

Exercise Training

Exercise training will be part of your pulmonary rehabilitation program to strengthen your arms, legs, back, and other muscles used for breathing. Physical training allows you to build flexibility and stamina, making it easier to perform everyday activities and other things you enjoy.

Your pulmonary rehabilitation team might also offer medicines that help open up airways or adjust your oxygen therapy during physical activity.

Psychological Counseling

People with chronic lung diseases often suffer from anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues. Keeping that in mind, group and individual support will be included in your pulmonary rehabilitation program to help you cope with stress and other problems.

Nutritional Counseling

You will be informed about the foods you can eat and how to prepare them to manage your condition best and help you feel energetic throughout the day. Nutritional counseling is about including the right nutrients in your diet in the proper amounts. A dietician may be assigned to you to help design a weight-loss plan or include medicines or nutritional supplements in your diet to help build muscle.

How Long Does Pulmonary Rehabilitation Last?

Pulmonary rehabilitation usually involves two or three weekly sessions that last for a couple of weeks or months.

When your program ends, your pulmonary rehabilitation team will conduct tests to check whether your breathing has improved. Some of the tests would include the ones you have to take at the beginning of the program.

Can Pulmonary Rehabilitation Be Done at Home?

Pulmonary rehabilitation isn’t all about exercise. It includes several other aspects, such as emotional support and education. However, after you’ve gone for pulmonary rehabilitation for a while, you can perform some exercises at home. Make sure you consult your doctor before engaging in physical activity at home.

What is the Cost of Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

The cost of pulmonary rehabilitation will depend on your chosen program and insurance coverage. If you can meet specific requirements, Medicare will cover pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD. You can speak to your program coordinator to understand whether you qualify for Medicare and the total cost of your pulmonary rehabilitation.

What Will You Get Out of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program?

Most people feel better by the end of the pulmonary rehabilitation program, and you will be able to perform more tasks without experiencing shortness of breath. Other than that, you’ll notice that your symptoms are getting better.

After the program ends, you will feel –

● Less breathlessness
● More energetic
● More aware of your condition and how to manage it

By joining the program, you will be preventing visits to the hospital due to COPD flare-ups or exacerbations. Even if your COPD is advanced, you will benefit from joining the program.

People who are consistent with the program and apply their learnings to their lifestyle can enjoy the benefits of years. However, it is essential to join a certified program to reap its benefits. You can ask your doctor to provide referrals to find a program that’s suitable for you.

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