COPD: Rehab Programs Can Alleviate Symptoms

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COPD: Rehab Programs Can Alleviate Symptoms

By Kathy Ristau, RRT, RPFT, AE-C

St. Peter’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Wellness Program

You feel your chest getting tight and every time you inhale you hear a tell-tale wheeze. You feel like you’re gasping for air, but yet you still can’t breathe. If you experience these symptoms regularly, you could be one of the millions of Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD, sometimes called emphysema or chronic bronchitis, is a very serious disease. According to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that COPD is often preventable and treatable.

COPD is a progressive disease that makes it difficult for sufferers to breathe, due to the airways and air sacs in their lungs losing their shape and elasticity. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms.

The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, and most people suffering from it either smoke or are former smokers. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes or dust also may contribute to COPD.

Although there is no cure for COPD, there are treatments that can make people living with the disease more comfortable.

St. Peter’s Health Partners is proud to provide extensive care for patients who have COPD and other lung diseases through its Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Wellness Program, which has achieved national certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

St. Peter’s Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Wellness Program helps to improve quality of life for patients with pulmonary diseases like COPD. By improving their fitness through exercise and education, patients learn to control their physical limitations. Patients must be referred by their physician and deemed healthy enough to participate, especially those recovering from pulmonary conditions including lung transplants, lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.

The program takes place in a gym-like setting at 400 Patroon Creek Boulevard in Albany. Participants are guided through individualized rehabilitation plans put together by staff, customized to address the individual patient’s lung condition. The program is overseen by a medical director and run by a team that includes a respiratory therapist and an exercise physiologist.

For more information on St. Peter’s Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Wellness Program, contact 518-525-1062.

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LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.