October 16, 2014
Morrisville, VT… Do you experience breathing problems and episodes of shortness of breath? Do you find that every day activities such as making your bed or walking to the mailbox are becoming increasingly difficult? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung disease that makes it hard for you to breathe. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. November is COPD awareness month and Copley Hospital encourages you to become more aware of the disease and programs available to help you cope with the lifestyle changes this disease brings. “See your primary care physician if you are having breathing problems or experiencing shortness of breath doing routine activities,” says Betsy Harper, physical therapist at Copley Hospital. “Knowing about COPD and its treatment options can help you feel more in control.” Harper and respiratory therapist Steve Cothalis lead Copley Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Respiratory Training program, which helps people with lung disease better manage their condition. Harper explains that a physician’s referral is needed for the program which offers education and exercise along with support from Copley professionals and COPD peers. For more information on Copley’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Respiratory Training program visit copleyvt.org/medical-services/rehabilitation-services/pulmonary-rehabilitation/ or call 888-8230.
COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and can greatly affect how a person functions at home, at work, and with family and friends. Harper explains that people diagnosed with COPD are also at a higher risk for developing complications for heart problems, high blood pressure, and respiratory infections.
A person with COPD will find their shortness of breath limiting their daily activities, and eventually affecting their overall quality of life. Other symptoms can include a long lasting chronic cough, a cough that produces mucus, and an increase in respiratory infections such as flu and colds. The most common cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.
Copley Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Respiratory Training Program is designed to provide information and support to meet the day-to-day challenges of living with a chronic lung disorder. This is accomplished through developing exercise endurance and understanding how to better manage the disease. Copley professionals work with you and your primary care physician to develop a plan that meets your needs and goals using education, exercise, breathing retraining and the development of coping skills in a supportive environment. Benefits of the program include reduced shortness of breath, ability to function better in your daily life, improvement of one’s sense of well being and quality of life, and reduced hospitalizations. “Even someone with advanced lung disease can benefit from pulmonary rehab,” says Harper.
In addition to Copley’s Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs, Copley Hospital offers a variety of programs including birthing classes, CPR and first aid, diabetes management and support groups. For a full listing of wellness programs, visit www.copleyvt.org.