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Pulmonary Rehab

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a broad program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may benefit people who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or cystic fibrosis. This rehab can also help people who have muscle-wasting disorders that may affect the muscles used for breathing - for example, muscular dystrophy.

Pulmonary rehab also can benefit people who need lung surgery, both before and after the surgery.

It doesn't replace medical therapy. Instead, it is used with medical therapy and may include:

  • Exercise training
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Education on your lung disease or condition and how to manage it
  • Energy-conserving techniques
  • Breathing strategies
  • Psychological counseling and/or group support

This rehab involves a long-term commitment from the patient and a team of health care providers, which may include doctors, nurses, and specialists. Examples of specialists include respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians or nutritionists, and psychologists or social workers.

Pulmonary rehab often is an outpatient program based in a hospital or clinic. Some patients also can receive rehab in their homes.

It can improve your ability to function and your quality of life. The program also may help relieve your breathing problems. Even if you have advanced lung disease, you can still benefit from pulmonary rehab.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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