Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week is coming up this month, from June 20th-26th. If you or someone you know has PF, this is the perfect time to learn more about pulmonary rehab programs. Read on to learn more about pulmonary rehab and to see if this is a good option for you. 

What is pulmonary rehab?

Pulmonary rehab is a combination of exercises, education, and support for people living with lung conditions and diseases such as COPD and IPF. It’s a structured program specially designed to increase understanding of lungs and lung disease – and to teach helpful exercises, breathing techniques, and coping strategies such as mindfulness.

What are the benefits of pulmonary rehab?

Research on pulmonary rehab has been promising. Studies have shown that pulmonary rehab can help increase oxygen saturation, improve cardiac conditioning, make the muscles more resistant to fatigue, and enhance the efficiency of musculo-skeletal function. More research is needed, but scientists are also finding that pulmonary rehab can positively impact anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and overall quality of life

Many participants at PF NOW! have described these benefits too: 

  • Improved lung function
  • Improved mental health and quality of life
  • Reduced symptoms such as shortness of breath
  • Increased level of fitness, and improved capacity for exercise

Who administers pulmonary rehab?

Many pulmonary rehab programs coordinate or collaborate with a variety of healthcare specialists, including: 

  • Respiratory therapists
  • Exercise specialists
  • Physical therapists
  • Dietitians or nutritionists

We interviewed a cardo-pulmonary physical therapist who administers pulmonary rehabilitation programs here. Highlights from the interview with Dr. Greenspan are available here

What happens during pulmonary rehab?

When you begin a pulmonary rehab program in person, your therapist will start with an assessment. This might include a six minute walk test. Then, you will be guided through a series of exercises designed to help you with your symptoms and goals. Your therapist will be able to accommodate any needs you have related to supplemental oxygen use.

How do I know if pulmonary rehab is right for me?

Do you experience shortness of breath often? 

Do you struggle with completing routine daily activities (such as getting dressed, bathing, or doing laundry)?

Do you feel fatigue, low energy, or exhaustion? 

Is it hard to stay physically active? 

Does PF limit your breathing, activity levels, or other aspects of quality of life?

If you answered, “Yes!” to any of these questions, pulmonary rehab might be right for you. It’s always a good idea to contact your doctor before starting a new exercise program or routine. When you talk to your doctor, they can help you find a pulmonary rehab program and get a referral for it. Often, insurance plans will cover the cost – or at least a portion of it. 

Where can I find pulmonary rehab programs?

Pulmonary rehab can be administered in clinics, hospitals, or even at home. Nowadays, there are ways to connect with pulmonary rehab programs and specialists both online in person. 

To find a program in person, visit these directories:

To find a program online, visit these resources:

Still have questions about pulmonary rehab and PF?

Together we’ll learn even more during Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week on June 20th-26th. Get ready by subscribing to our Instagram account, joining our community forum, following our Facebook page, and signing up for the June support group meetup/

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