What Is Pulmonary Rehabilitation? Everything to Know
Read on to find out more about pulmonary rehabilitation. This guide includes who pulmonary rehabilitation is for, what to expect, when to see a doctor, and more.
However, the program may also benefit people with other conditions that affect their lungs and breathing.
Other conditions for which your doctor may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation include:
- cystic fibrosis
- interstitial lung disease
- neuromuscular disorders
- pulmonary hypertension
- lung cancer
Learn about the symptoms of respiratory conditions.
If your doctor recommends pulmonary rehabilitation, they may conduct a series of tests to help design your program.
Tests can include:
- breathing tests to see how well your lungs work
- exercise stress test to measure your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level during exercise
- 6-minute walk test to see how far you can walk in 6 minutes
Your doctor can explain the tests they request in more detail and answer any questions you may have.
Your doctor and healthcare team will create a pulmonary rehabilitation plan to meet your individual needs.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program can include:
- breathing techniques
- exercise training
- nutritional counseling
- psychological counseling
You will be able to learn specific techniques to help you to breathe more easily. This can include:
- pursed lip breathing
- yoga breathing
- breathing with computer-aided feedback
Breathing techniques can help you to have more control over your breathing. It can also help you to feel less out of breath during exercise.
Exercise training focuses on teaching you how to exercise safely. Your healthcare team will monitor your breathing and oxygen levels and help you modify your exercise regime.
Exercises to improve your endurance and muscle strength can involve:
- a stationary bike
- a treadmill
Once you have been doing pulmonary rehabilitation for a while, you may be able to perform the exercises at home. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice about when it is safe to exercise without assistance.
As part of your program, your healthcare team will be able to provide you with more information about your condition.
Education can occur in either individual or group sessions and can focus on:
- helping you find ways to manage your condition
- recognizing signs of a flare-up and finding a way to prevent them
- ways of conserving energy and avoiding feeling out of breath during daily lifting, reaching, or bending
- helping you quit smoking if you smoke
A dietitian may help you to learn about and prepare meals that can help you to manage your condition. They will also help ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that you require.
Where relevant, they can recommend nutritional supplements. They can also help you create an eating plan to maintain a moderate weight.
Some people with chronic lung conditions can experience mood changes. Psychological counseling focuses on helping you find ways to manage symptoms such as:
- other emotional problems
Psychological counseling may take place as either individual or group sessions.
Your pulmonary rehabilitation program will help you manage your daily activities. It will help you breathe more easily.
Exercise training will improve your strength and endurance. At the same time, you will learn to control your breathing more effectively during physical activity.
Counseling can help you manage your nutrition alongside symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
There are no known risks of pulmonary rehabilitation besides the general risks of physical exertion.
Your healthcare team will monitor you during exercise training. They will monitor your breathing and oxygen levels to ensure that you exercise as safely as possible
Pulmonary rehabilitation can take place over the course of several weeks or months. You will typically have 2–3 sessions per week.
A team of healthcare professionals will provide pulmonary rehabilitation. This team can include:
- exercise specialists
- physical therapists
- respiratory therapists
Contact your doctor if you have a respiratory condition and wish to discuss pulmonary rehabilitation. Your doctor may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation or another treatment to help manage your condition.
You should also contact your doctor if you have any questions about your existing pulmonary rehabilitation program. They will be able to provide you with more information about your specific plan.
At the end of your pulmonary rehabilitation program, your healthcare team will conduct tests to assess your breathing. This allows them to see how well it has improved.
They will also help you develop a long-term exercise plan to continue the practices you learned in the program.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a treatment program that can help people with respiratory conditions. It focuses on exercise training and breathing techniques.
Some programs also include psychological counseling to help you manage symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. A dietitian may provide nutritional counseling to help plan meals and ensure you eat a balanced diet.
Contact your doctor if you have a respiratory condition and wish to find out if pulmonary rehabilitation is for you. They can answer any questions you may have and advise on what treatments they recommend.