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How effective are treatments for COPD?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the chronic blockage of airways in the lungs. This blockage can lead to a chronic shortness of breath and difficulty participating in everyday activities. For advanced COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation in combination with medical treatment can improve quality of life. A comprehensive rehabilitation program includes disease education, nutrition planning, exercise training, respiratory therapy and counseling. A variety of specialists will work with you to tailor a program to your specific needs and help you develop strategies to manage your COPD.

Brian Yee
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

Physical Therapy can help COPD with focus on improving breathing patterns. There are manual techniques to improve inhalation/exhalation capacities. Proper education in strategies to improve self management skills for COPD should also be discussed.

A comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program includes exercise training in endurance and strength, education, nutrition counseling and psycho-social support and counseling. It can improve symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), maximum oxygen consumption and quality-of-life measures. It improves patient's strength, endurance and flexibility, decreases symptoms of breathlessness and effort for the activities of daily living and social/family activities. It can also decrease in the number of hospitalizations. Benefits vary among individuals, however, and consistent participation in an exercise regimen is necessary to maintain improvements.

Dr. Brian D. Gelbman, MD
Pulmonary Disease Specialist

Pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to be beneficial for patients with COPD; it is done with a physical therapist and can help improve exercise tolerance. Watch pulmonologist Brian Gelbman, MD, describe the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of exercise, education and support to help you learn to breathe—and function—at the highest level possible. At pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a team of specialists help you improve your physical condition. They also help you learn how to manage your COPD so you will stay healthy and active long after you complete the course.

In order to qualify for pulmonary rehabilitation, you must be referred by your doctor and have spirometry test results within the past year that show you have COPD.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.