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Health Journey Support | Pulmonary Rehabilitation

This brochure explains how a pulmonary rehabilitation program can help you live better with lung disease.

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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

You or someone you know may have an ongoing pulmonary or lung condition. This handout explains how a pulmonary rehabilitation program can help you live better with lung disease.

A Custom Designed Program

Before you start your program, your health care team will:

  • Learn about your health history
  • Test how well your lungs are working
  • Monitor your heartbeat, blood pressure and blood oxygen level
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Breathing tests show how well you breathe in and out, and how much air your lungs can hold.

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You may also be asked to perform a six-minute walk test.

Your health care team will use your health history and test results to custom design your program. Your program may include three main parts:

  • Exercise
  • Education
  • Counseling

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Exercise

Over time, exercise can make your lungs and heart work better. It may also increase the amount of time you can perform your daily activities, such as work, shopping, and exercise.

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Your program may include aerobic exercise. This type of exercise makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster.

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Strength-training exercises can make your muscles stronger, and stretching exercises can improve your flexibility.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Education

Education may include classes that will help you understand, manage and cope with your lung disease. Classes and your health care team can help:

  • Explain how the lungs work and how diseases affect your lungs
  • Teach you ways to manage your breathing
  • You to understand your medications and make lifestyle changes, such as quit smoking
  • Show you how to use oxygen therapy, if appropriate
  • Teach ways to prevent respiratory infections
  • Make a plan to save your energy, get more done and avoid too much activity

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your medication, or have any side effects. It is important to take your medications as directed by your doctor.

Understand how disease affects your lungs.

Learn breathing exercises.

Make lifestyle changes.

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Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Counseling

Your program may also include counseling. This can help you cope with worry or depression you may have about your lung health.

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The Goals of Pulmonary Rehabilitation

After a few months, you may be given additional exercises and lung tests.

These tests will help your healthcare team know if you're reaching the program goals. Pulmonary rehabilitation goals include:

  • Increased tolerance for daily activity
  • Less disease symptoms
  • Self-management and coping skills

The information in this handout has been created and peer reviewed by graduate-level medical illustrators, followed by reviews from medical subject experts, either physicians or PhDs on the Nucleus Medical Review Board, to ensure medical accuracy and audience level appropriateness.

The handout is intended to supplement the information you receive from your health care provider and should never be considered personal medical advice. Always contact your health care provider with health questions and concerns.