What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of education and exercise to increase awareness about your lungs and your disease. In these programs, you will learn how to exercise with less shortness of breath. The classes are usually offered in a group setting so you get the chance to meet others with sarcoidosis or pulmonary conditions, which provides an opportunity for peer support. The skills and knowledge learned in the program will help you feel better and manage your sarcoidosis. Exercising your lungs and your muscles helps you be more active so you can do the things you enjoy with your loved ones. Pulmonary rehabilitation may even decrease the need for hospital visits.
Sarcoidosis and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Chasta, an FSR Patient Ambassador, took part in a pulmonary rehabilitation program to help manage her sarcoidosis. Read about how her time in pulmonary rehab helped improve her symptoms!
“Before I started pulmonary rehab, I expected it to be tough but it was more than a physical battle for me, it was a mental one as well. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do but it was worth every tear and every moment of wanting to quit.
When I was in rehab I worked with my pulmonologist, rehab therapist, nutritionist and sarcoidosis specialist. The program I attended was set up like a regular gym. They had everything from treadmills to stationary bicycles. The also had a weightlifting area that I did some exercising on. I went twice a week and began to see results around week three.
Lung function is measured by PFTs, but the rehab facility doesn’t necessarily conduct those tests. For me, however, they did measure my distance walking and oxygen saturation. They would check my oxygen saturation before and after every activity and measure my time on each exercise. They recorded these numbers and based my improvement percentages off of them.
For me, a realistic outcome for pulmonary rehab is improvement (if you commit to doing the work)! It will not fix your breathing problem, but it will improve it while teaching you how to breathe, do daily activities, and exercise. There will be nothing easy about this process but once you commit to doing the work and being fully invested in the process, you commit to a mental rehab as well. There will be days you want to give up, you are going to cry, you are going to be discouraged but, you are also going to feel triumph. Do the work and get the reward.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable throughout the process and watch how you improve physically and mentally. Anyone who has pulmonary sarcoidosis and struggles with severe breathing problems should consider pulmonary rehab!”
If you would like to learn more about pulmonary rehabilitation, register for our webinar tomorrow! Dr. Whiteson from New York University will be discussing how pulmonary rehab and exercise can help improve the quality of life for sarcoidosis patients.
If you can’t attend the live event tomorrow, you can still register and receive a recording of the presentation!
*Description of pulmonary rehabilitation provided by The American Lung Association.