Pulmonary rehabilitation 

A respiratory nurse specialist and patients explain pulmonary rehabilitation and how exercise can improve the symptoms of COPD.

Find out how COPD is diagnosed

Transcript of Pulmonary rehabilitation

(woman) Pulmonary rehab can be a lot of fun.

We have a brilliant time with the patients.

When patients come It's like the first day at school sometimes.

They're nervous, but they're with other people

who are living with the same or a similar condition

who are coming for the first time.

You think that the specialists,

who have gone through years and years of training, are crackers,

telling you to exercise.

You don't realise that it does actually open up your lungs

and you are able to do far more.

COPD stands for

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

It's a term that describes conditions

such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

It's a slowly progressive disorder

that doesn't change markedly over a short period of time,

but It's characterised by narrowing of the airwaves

which makes it harder for air to get in and out.

I knew something was wrong.

I couldn't breathe,

I couldn't cross the road

without puffing and blowing and holding on to something.

I was lucky to get straight on to a pulmonary rehab course.

There was one starting about a fortnight after I saw the consultant

and he sent me straight onto it.

The biggest thing is that when you mention exercise to patients with COPD,

the look of horror on their faces is phenomenal.

But It's just exercise, although they do put you through it.

But they know exactly how far to take you.

And they do your saturation if you get a bit puffy and blowy.

They do your saturation level just to check everything's alright.

So you feel safe because of that.

(Vicky Walker) If you don't do anything you'll become more and more breathless,

so by exercising it helps maximise the lung function that you've got.

It's just the exercises.

It's the package, and that's what people are coming for.

It's the package of exercise, education and support.

And the aim of this is to try to improve patients' quality of life

that are living with COPD.

It's about patients feeling much more in control,

so it's not the illness that's controlling them.

They're much more in control and they feel much more empowered

to manage their disease.

I wouldn't be able to do the things now that I do, which is quite a lot, really,

if I hadn't done the rehab course.

I always say I'm not going to let COPD rule my life.

I'm going to rule its existence.

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