Lung function diseases affect millions of Americans and are a leading cause of death. However, prevention and cure are possible in many cases. Many people with breathing trouble attend pulmonary rehabilitation programs to find a better way.
What are lung diseases?
There are several lung diseases that affect how a person breathes. The most widespread ones are COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These are diseases that make it hard to breathe and generally worsen over time. However, when treated properly, they can be highly manageable.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a combination of education, awareness and exercise that teaches someone how to effectively manage a pulmonary disease. It takes place in a group, so people dealing with the same problems can meet, connect and support each other. The groups tend to be small so patients feel comfortable and can get to know one another.
The first element is education. An educator, usually a respiratory therapist, will give over all the information the patient’s need about this disease. They’ll discuss physiology, symptoms, medication and more. She usually offers nutritional counseling as well. Extra weight can exacerbate breathing issues, and low weight can decrease the body’s ability to fight disease and infection. Even more, it can be hard to prepare nutritious food when you feel shortness of breath. The program explains how to prepare food without getting stressed out.
There’s also an emotional counseling component, because people dealing with these types of diseases are more prone to anxiety or other emotional fallouts.
The last element, exercise is an important part of the program, because many COPD patients don’t exercise at all; they fear its effect on their breathing. However, doing the right exercises will make someone feel more fit and help him breathe better. It will increase his lung function and make it easier for him to work out without experiencing severe shortness of breath. It come cases it can even decrease the need for hospital visits.
Finally, there’s a maintenance aspect to the program. Each program takes place over a few sessions, but participants often need a way to keep up with the agenda. Participants often come back for refresher classes or one-time sessions.
Meeting the patient’s needs
While the general rehab takes place in a group setting, each member has his own regimen. A team of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, exercise therapists, nutritionists and other staff members will work with each patient to create a plan to fit his specific needs. The program is done on an outpatient basis, with meetings at a facility. Some of the plan may require follow-up at home.
At the Alameda Center, we offer pulmonary rehabilitation at our premier facility in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. We have a large, experienced staff of doctors, nurses, therapists and nutritionists who provide excellent pulmonary rehabilitation services. We would be happy to arrange a meeting to hear about your needs and explain how our programs work.