COPD is a devastating diagnosis for patients. While it is definitely a serious hit, people don’t have to think their lives are over when they hear the verdict. It just means that they’ll have to make some important changes in their lifestyles. Pulmonary rehab is gaining momentum as real system for managing COPD and helping patients lead a normal, active life.
What is COPD?
COPC, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is an umbrella term for diseases that cause inflammation or obstructions in the airways. This can cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Some common illnesses that contribute to COPD are bronchitis and emphysema. The most common reason people develop COPD is exposure to smoking, either personally or through extended second-hand smoke.
COPD can lead to life-threatening outcomes such as lung cancer and heart attack. It’s a pretty serious significant pill to swallow, and previously it may have had a dire prognosis. However, today there are ways to control COPD and its symptoms, and you don’t have to get your affairs in order as soon as you hear the news.
Managing COPD with pulmonary rehab
Pulmonary rehab differs from other types of rehab in a few ways. Fundamentally, it’s not post-surgery or post-illness, like most types of rehab. Rather, it works within the confines of a continuous illness and aims to improve outcomes. Second, it’s done on an outpatient basis. Patients learn a method, usually in a group setting. Typically, there’s an educator, and participants join in a program that runs for several weeks. Within the group, each participant gets a custom-tailored plan to improve her individual outcomes.
The purpose of the plan is to help patient learn how to manage their prognoses effectively. Ultimately, many patients with COPD can go on to accomplish regular activities like everyone else. They can even work out at the gym and sing in choirs. These, and everyday activities, can become available to people who go to pulmonary rehab and learn to reprogram their thoughts about what it means to have COPD.
What happens in pulmonary rehab?
Each facility runs its programs differently, but each one runs for approximately six to twelve weeks, three days a week, for a few hours a day. There’s usually a maintenance program afterwards to help members stay on track.
When you enter the program, the staff will take a full medical history and run some tests to make sure you’re the right fit. They’ll probably get you to run a bit – in a safe way – to monitor your heart rate and see how much exercise you body can handle.
Throughout the sessions, members will learn more effective breathing techniques and proper exercise to stay fit. They’ll hear from qualified instructors about proper nutrition, and how to go about ADL’s, activities for daily living, such as cooking and cleaning, in ways that don’t compromise their breathing. They’ll also find out about medications, how to avoid the worst triggers, and how to deal with anxiety and other emotional issues that sometimes accompany a diagnosis of COPD. Most of all, they’ll meet other people who cope with similar problems and know they’re not alone.
At Sinai Post acute care, we help pulmonary rehab patients get back to regular, daily living. Our team of doctors, nurses, therapists, educators and on-site staff provide caring and expert support to COPD patients.