Pulmonary rehab

Removing the mystery from pulmonary rehab.

If you’ve ever heard the term “Pulmonary Rehab,” you may have wondered what it is, and whether it’s appropriate for you or someone you love. Pulmonary Rehab is a program designed with education and exercise to help you manage your breathing, increase your energy and decrease your shortness of breath.

At Northwestern Medical Center you can find pulmonary rehab in a group setting. There is an exercise component including treadmills, bikes, or arm bikes, as well as strength and balance training. You will also learn to manage your symptoms and improve the quality of your life.

You may be a candidate for Pulmonary Rehab if you suffer from a chronic lung disease like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease also known as COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, in which case this program is appropriate for you. Speak with your primary care doctor and/or ask to be referred to a pulmonologist for greater work up.

If you feel you would benefit from Pulmonary Rehab, have a discussion with your primary care doctor to let them know you’ve heard about Pulmonary Rehab and ask if they feel you should be seen by a pulmonologist to help determine if it is appropriate. Although you may think you are short of breath with walking and can’t imagine how you could do any exercises, staff can work with you to teach you how to better manage your breathing, and teach you the proper way to breath with a respiratory disease such as COPD or Pulmonary Fibrosis while increasing your physical activity.

Pulmonary Rehab typically begins with skilled physical therapy. You would meet one on one with a physical therapist who would assess your range of motion, strength, posture, walking pattern and your breathing status during everyday tasks. Together you would define goals and create a program appropriate for you. Once you learn techniques to help with breathing, you would advance to a group exercise class where your symptoms would be monitored while you continue to increase your strength, endurance and management of your symptoms. Group classes meet up to times per week and include educational series specific to nutrition, stress management, medication adherence and activity. Upon meeting your goals in the group exercise class, you would be encouraged to continue with a maintenance program at home, at NMC’s open gym or with our community partners at a local fitness center that we would assist you with. Our goal is that you adopt healthy habits for a lifetime.

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