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Pulmonary rehabilitation is a broad therapeutic concept. It is defined by the American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society as a comprehensive intervention based on a thorough patient assessment followed by patient centered therapies that include, but are not limited to, exercise training, education, and behavior change, designed to improve the physical and psychological condition of people with chronic respiratory disease and to promote the long-term adherence to health-enhancing behaviors. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis oftentimes benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation. Also smoke inhalation over period of time can increase one’s risk of developing COPD. The main goals of pulmonary rehabilitation are; lower and upper extremity exercise conditioning, breathing retraining, education, and psychosocial support. Some other therapeutic modalities that are also done frequently in rehab programs include; oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, antibiotics, nutritional support. If you believe you may have been exposed to inhalants while performing your job duties and subsequently having breathing issues, please give us a call.

It is unknown the benefit of pulmonary rehabilitation on mortality. However recent studies have shown that although pulmonary rehabilitation did not confer a mortality benefit, it was associated with improved exercise capacity, dyspnea, and quality of life. In contrast, another observational study that included patients with a wider range of airflow obstruction detected improved survival among patients whose exercise capacity and dyspnea improved after rehabilitation. Also some additional studies have demonstrated decreased hospital readmission and mortality among patients who received rehabilitation after an exacerbation of COPD.

Below are some of the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation:

  • Aerobic lower extremity training is of benefit in several areas of importance to patients with COPD, including exercise endurance, perception of dyspnea, and quality of life;

  • Education and psychological support improves patients’ awareness and understanding of their disease process;

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, when coupled with smoking cessation, optimization of blood gases, and medication, is part of the optimal treatment program for patients with symptomatic airflow obstruction.


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