Dear Doctor K: My doctor has recommended pulmonary rehabilitation for my COPD. What will this involve?
Dear Reader: COPD stands for “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” This group of disorders damages the lungs and makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. Common symptoms include a mucus-producing cough, breathlessness, rapid breathing, wheezing, tightness in the chest and fatigue.
No treatment can fully reverse or stop COPD. But not smoking, taking medications, making environmental changes and using supplemental oxygen can help. These measures should ease symptoms, treat complications and minimize disability.
Pulmonary rehabilitation can take these improvements a step further. Pulmonary rehab combines exercise therapy, breathing retraining, patient education and psychological support. It helps to improve quality of life, and it allows you to carry out day-to-day activities with greater ease and independence.