Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is a program that helps improve the quality of life of people who have chronic breathing problems. PR may benefit individuals who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sarcoidosis, pulmonary fibrosis, or cystic fibrosis. PR also can benefit people who need lung surgery, both before and after the surgery. PR involves a long-term commitment from the patient and a team of health care providers. The PR team may include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dietitians, and psychologists.
Assessment will include looking at your exercise capacity, muscle strength, flexibility and lung function. This will create the foundation of your rehabilitation program.
Based on your needs, you will need to attend 2-3 sessions of 45-60min per week. Your exercise training will be a combination of resistance training, aerobic exercises and flexibility.
Home Exercise Program
A individualised home exercise program will be designed for you to follow at home during the time of your program. When ready for discharge from the program, you will be given a maintenance program to continue.
During your program you will be taught how to manage your breathlessness, understand your condition better and be equipped to maintain your fitness and reduce exacerbations.
"Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough"
WHO NEEDS PULMONARY REHABILITATION
Your doctor may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation if you have a chronic lung disease. They also may suggest PR if you have a condition that makes it hard for you to breathe and limits your activities of daily living. Your doctor also may recommend if before and after lung surgery to help you prepare for and recover from the surgery. It will work best if you start it when your disease is in a moderate stage. However, even advanced lung disease patients can benefit. Conditions include COPD, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, asthma, lung cancer, lung transplantation and bronchiectasis.
IMPORTANCE OF PULMONARY REHABILITATION
PR plays an integral part in the management of chronic lung disease. Your exercise capacity is affected by shortness of breath, this shortness of breath often causes you to avoid activities that make you breathless, in response you do less due to fear of exertion. Your muscles become weaker and less efficient which causes you to become more breathless. This vicious cycle can be broken by PR.
RISKS OF PULMONARY REHABILITATION
There are not many risks associated to PR. It is usually safe, however as you will be exercising there is risk of injury to muscles and bones. However your qualified physiotherapist will correct and monitor your positioning constantly to prevent this from occurring. If you have another disorder, such as heart disease, physical activity may increase your risk of having a heart attack. During your session your physiotherapist will constantly monitor your vitals.
BENEFITS OF PULMONARY REHABILITATION
There are multiple benefits of PR, it however can't cure your lung disease or completely relieve your breathing problems. The most reported benefit is the you will experience an improved quality of life and will be able to function better in your daily life. You will notice your ability to exercise will become easier with time and reduced symptoms of breathlessness caused by your condition. It will also help manage anxiety and depression.