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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

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BRVH now offers pulmonary rehabilitation

Dave Archer
Leader Assistant Editor

(Editor’s note:  This is the first in a series of stories highlighting some of the success and new programs available at the new Bear River Valley Hospital in recognition of their first anniversary.)
When most people think of rehabilitation, images of working a muscle that has been torn, an arm that has been broken, or even a heart that has suffered an attack come to mind.
But rehabbing the lungs?  That’s something many people wouldn’t even think about.
But lung rehab, or pulmonary rehabilitation as it is officially called, can be an essential tool in living a healthy, active life for people who suffer from myriad lung problems.
And luckily for residents in and around the Bear River Valley, that rehabilitation care is now available locally at Bear River Valley Hospital.
“When you exercise your pulmonary muscle, it strengthens it, just like any other muscle,” said rehabilitation manager Jay Cottle.
Strengthening the lungs is important for patients who suffer from things like asthma, emphysema or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  People who suffer from these types of diseases often find themselves short of breath or have difficulty breathing, thus leading to a less active and lower quality of life than those who surround them.
“These people have poor endurance,” Cottle said.  “They’ll have a low tolerance to any activity.  [Participating in a pulmonary rehabilitation program] will help these people improve their tolerance levels.”
To participate in pulmonary rehabilitation, patients must get a recommendation from their doctor.  Should the doctor recommend participation, patients visit the rehabilitation center at the hospital three times a week for six to eight weeks total.  Patients start out doing an evaluation to find out where their oxygen and exertion levels are, and a plan is made accordingly.
Throughout the process, patients participate in a number of exercises designed to utilize, stretch and strengthen the pulmonary muscles.  This includes activities on stationary bikes, arm bikes, treadmills, pulleys, stairs and with weights.
“These exercises use the muscles in their lungs and increase their capacity to breathe,” said Elizabeth Yates, cardiac and pulmonary nurse at the hospital.

(For the rest of this story, pick up a copy or subscribe to the Leader by calling 435-257-5182.)


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