Mayo Clinic Q&A: Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation

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DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My father has suffered from COPD for years, but he was hospitalized with worsening symptoms related to his condition. Her health care provider advised her to start a pulmonary rehabilitation program. He is hesitant and doesn’t know what to expect. What are the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation in people with COPD? Do you recommend it to people with other lung conditions?

REPLY: Pulmonary rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that includes structured physical training, health education, behavior modification, nutritional counseling, and learning breathing techniques for people with certain chronic respiratory diseases or lung problems. due to other conditions. Pulmonary rehabilitation aims to improve the physical and psychological condition of people with chronic respiratory diseases and to educate these people on how to establish and maintain behaviors that will benefit their health for years to come.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is beneficial for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of shortness of breath, improve physical function, and improve overall quality of life. Research has shown that people who start pulmonary rehabilitation within three months of being hospitalized for COPD-related problems have a significantly lower risk of death after one year, compared to those who start pulmonary rehabilitation later or later. to those who do not participate in pulmonary rehabilitation. A growing body of evidence is emerging that pulmonary rehabilitation improves symptoms, exercise capacity, and quality of life in people with conditions such as interstitial lung disease, asthma, pulmonary hypertension, and cystic fibrosis. , as well as in people before and after surgery for lung cancer, lung volume reduction or lung transplantation.

Pulmonary rehabilitation care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals from a range of specialist fields and backgrounds, including pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and exercise physiologists. The pulmonary rehabilitation team may also include experts in nursing, physical medicine and rehabilitation, nutrition, psychology and psychiatry and sleep medicine, depending on the needs of the person.

Typically, pulmonary rehabilitation is provided in an outpatient clinic or hospital rehabilitation center, and it normally involves one to three supervised sessions per week for six to 10 weeks.

Before starting pulmonary rehabilitation with patients, the healthcare team:

• Measure exercise capacity and lung function.

• Review current medical history and treatments.

• Learn about current levels of physical activity, mental health and diet.

• Establish specific goals to be achieved for each person following the program.

Using this information, a specialized care plan is designed to best meet the needs of each person.

Although pulmonary rehabilitation has traditionally been performed in a clinic or hospital under direct medical supervision, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that home pulmonary rehabilitation, especially home exercise training, is safe and possibly just as safe. effective. Such home rehabilitation may be more convenient for participants. Additionally, home rehabilitation can be a good alternative for people who cannot regularly attend a rehabilitation center due to factors such as work commitments and travel restrictions. Many pulmonary rehabilitation centers strive to establish home programs.

Physical training is at the heart of pulmonary rehabilitation. An individualized physical training plan, or exercise prescription, is often based on information gathered from exercise tests performed before starting the program, and such a plan is developed for each participant. Physical training, which combines aerobic exercise, such as walking on a treadmill or cycling; strength training; and exercises that improve balance and flexibility, is designed to improve strength and endurance, and reduce shortness of breath, fatigue and fatigue in people participating in pulmonary rehabilitation. The rehabilitation team may recommend the use of medication to open the airways before exercise or teach people how to adjust their regular oxygen therapy during exercise to maximize the benefits obtained. As participants in pulmonary rehabilitation become more familiar with their exercise program and feel more comfortable performing regular exercise, they are encouraged to exercise independently at home or in another setting, such as a fitness center, in addition to supervised sessions.

Participants can also learn specific breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, pursed-lip breathing, or yoga breathing. These techniques can help people with lung disease better control their breathing, cope better with stressful situations, and avoid feeling short of breath, especially during exercise. In certain situations, the rehabilitation team can also involve a participant in a specific training of his respiratory muscles. This workout is designed to increase the strength of the respiratory muscles. And when done in combination with exercise training, it has been shown to reduce shortness of breath and improve exercise capacity, compared to exercise alone in some people with respiratory disease.

Education and counseling are also key components of pulmonary rehabilitation. Participants can receive education on how to take their medications more effectively and manage their illness; develop a plan to quit smoking, if applicable; and discuss how routine daily tasks can be modified to minimize shortness of breath or avoid becoming short of breath. In addition, many pulmonary rehabilitation programs offer individual or group support on how to best manage and relieve depression and anxiety, and how to modify diet and prepare meals for health benefits. long term for health.

Overall, participation in pulmonary rehabilitation is an essential part of the management of COPD. I encourage you to talk to your dad and his health care provider about the value of pulmonary rehabilitation. I believe it is effective in helping people with lung disease better manage their symptoms, improve their fitness and ability to perform routine daily tasks, and improve their health and well-being as much as possible. in general.


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