What is pulmonary rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program to help people with chronic (long-term) lung disease.

Who should have pulmonary rehabilitation?

Any person with a chronic lung disease might benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation. Examples of lung conditions include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis, or pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary rehabilitation may also be ordered to help patients either before or after chest or lung surgery.

Pulmonary rehabilitation has three main goals:

  • Help your shortness of breath
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Improve your ability to do daily living activities

Pulmonary rehabilitation will include all of the following:

  • Assessment: This can be done by a nurse, respiratory therapist, exercise physiologist, or doctor.
  • Education: subjects to help you deal with your chronic lung condition.
  • Exercise: to help you feel better and do more.
  • Psychosocial: to help you deal with a chronic lung condition.
  • Nutrition: to help learn what foods and weight may be best.

Where is pulmonary rehabilitation done? How often do I have to go?

Most pulmonary rehabilitation programs will be done at your local hospital or outpatient health center. Pulmonary rehabilitation is usually done 3 times a week for 6-12 weeks.

If you have a chronic lung disease and you want to feel better, one of the best ways may be to go to a pulmonary rehabilitation program. It may be hard and will take some time but you should feel much better after attending. Ask your doctor about a local program.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/27/2014.


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