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COPD: You can breathe better and easier with Pulmonary Rehab!

By Mitchi Lee, Cardiac Rehab, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Rehab, and Pulmonary Rehab Specialist

Chronic lung disease can make it harder to do things that used to be easy, from playing golf to keeping up with family and completing everyday activities. Even though patients may not feel sharp, shooting pain or have a visible injury, shortness of breath does not equate to “feeling fine.” This condition is treatable – you can have a better quality of life!

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. It’s typically caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and various other conditions. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD.

COPD Signs and Symptoms

COPD is commonly diagnosed in people over 40 years old and generally found in people with a heavy smoking history or other chronic environmental exposures. By seeing a doctor when you have symptoms, you can prevent long-term organ damage and improve your breathing for a better and healthier you. The most common lung disorder is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities like walking or taking the stairs
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow, or greenish
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy (because of lack of good sleep)
  • Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
  • Swelling in ankles, feet, or legs

COPD is Treatable!

Although COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve reasonable symptom control and improve their quality of life. You will also benefit from reduced risk of other associated conditions. By seeing a doctor when you have symptoms, you can prevent long-term organ damage and improve your breathing for a better and healthier you.

Pulmonary Rehab

Pulmonary rehab is a unique form of rehabilitation for individuals experiencing fatigue from chronic or acute lung disease. It can also benefit patients who have very severe asthma or other lung diseases that cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Sessions with a certified specialist include exercise, education, support, and relaxation.

  • Exercise – Strengthen your lungs, heart, and body while under the care and supervision of a specialist. Supervision during your exercise sessions allows participants to push themselves safely. Each person progresses at their own pace.
  • Education – Learn more about your condition and gain skills to make basic living activities easier.
  • Support – Receive encouragement as you set goals toward healthful lifestyle changes.
  • Relaxation – Learn techniques to help you cope with stress and anxiety.

Patients are surprised by how much strength they gain; most importantly, they learn to take care of themselves emotionally.

If you have chronic or acute lung disease and want to feel better daily, talk to your doctor about treatment options, including pulmonary rehab. Don’t wait any longer to breathe and live better.