Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a common and debilitating disorder characterized by destruction of the lung and inflammation of the airways. It is often — but not always — associated with smoking, but either way, it is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States and is quickly becoming the third most common cause of death worldwide.
Although shortness of breath, wheezing, and cough are common manifestations of this disorder, exercise intolerance is the most significant limiting factor in an individual’s daily life.
Pulmonary rehabilitation, a new program offered at New York Methodist Hospital, is a specific treatment for COPD that addresses exercise intolerance by improving muscle strength and stamina.
The primary goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to improve the efficiency of the musculoskeletal system so that the lungs are less stressed and can function for prolonged periods of time—enabling the patient to walk, exercise and perform regular activities.
Pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to improve three important quality of life aspects in individuals with COPD: 1) exercise capacity, 2) severity of dyspnea (shortness of breath), and 3) health related quality of life. Evidence also shows that rehabilitation reduces frequency of hospitalization, cost of care, anxiety and depression, and cognitive function.
Rehabilitation is generally safe, although screening for cardiovascular disease is necessary due to the increased risk of a cardiac event while exercising. Individuals who are eligible for pulmonary rehabilitation must undergo an evaluation process including cardiopulmonary exercise testing in order to determine their maximum exercise capacity so that an exercise regimen can be determined. Additional testing during therapy may also be necessary to follow a patient’s progress.
For information on pulmonary rehabilitation, contact the Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital, (718) 780-5835.
©2010 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.