Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disorder of the lungs that makes it difficult to breathe. Its main cause is smoking, but it can also be caused by exposure to pollution, fumes, or other irritating substances.
The condition has no cure, and it is the third leading cause of death Trusted Source in the United States.
In emphysema, tiny air sacks in the lungs can collapse, become stretched out, or be destroyed, resulting in problems with gas exchange in the lungs.
The lungs may not be able to get as much oxygen as they should, so a person with emphysema may feel out of breath while exercising, or even at rest. They may also experience a long-term cough that does not go away.
Chronic bronchitis, the other part of COPD, is associated with inflammation in the lungs’ airways. As the airways are always inflamed, they produce mucus and can become clogged.
This makes it more difficult for the lungs to move air in and out. It often causes a feeling of breathlessness, tightness in the chest, and a chronic or long-term cough that produces mucus.
Many people with COPD find that even light activity can make them feel out of breath, and it may feel harder to breathe as time goes on. This can lead to a cycle of becoming less active and feeling increasingly breathless with reduced activity.
How pulmonary rehab can help
Pulmonary rehab is a program for people with breathing problems such as COPD. It is often done in a hospital or clinic. The patient works with a pulmonary rehab team, which may include doctors, nurses, pulmonary therapists, and other healthcare providers.
Pulmonary rehab aims to help a person improve their well-being and quality of life. It may include:
- Exercise and fitness training tailored for the patient’s needs and breathing ability
- Diet and nutrition counseling
- Education about COPD and ways to manage it
- Counseling and support
- Breathing exercises
COPD cannot be reversed, but pulmonary rehab can help the lungs work better.
While breathing exercises are a part of pulmonary rehab, they can also be done at home or whenever a person feels short of breath.
This can help to avoid quick breathing and panic when short of breath. Done regularly, proper breathing exercises can help the lungs to get rid of old, nonoxygenated air so they can take in fresh, oxygen-rich air more efficiently.
Pursed-lip breathing is one of the most popular breathing exercises for people with COPD. With regular practice, this exercise can help to slow down breathing and therefore get more air in and out of the lungs.
It improves the lungs’ ability to get oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. A study published in American Family Physician found that it improves a person’s ability to exercise with COPD. ….. …….. Continue Reading. …….. ……… ……….