The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the lives of millions of people across the world having no signs of abatement. The severity of the infection and its symptoms in people infected with the COVID 19 virus vary widely, from asymptomatic demanding no cure to a severe condition requiring ventilation support. As a highly infectious respiratory tract disease, COVID-19 can cause several physical, psychological, and respiratory complications, and can often lead to lasting lung damage. Therefore, pulmonary rehabilitation is essential for patients. Before understanding the importance of pulmonary rehab in COVID 19, it is crucial to know what it actually is. Pulmonary rehabilitation can decrease symptom severity, boost lung function and improve quality of life. Here are a few benefits and needs of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients.
What is Pulmonary Rehab?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a specific therapeutic intervention that aids patients suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or any other lung condition. It is customized to a patient’s particular requirements and resolves the psychological, physical, and lifestyle affecting factors of a disease. The purpose of pulmonary rehabilitation is to enhance the patients’ physical and mental conditions as well as help them to return to their normal life more promptly. The physical component of pulmonary rehab involves strength training, resistance, and endurance, focusing on lower extremity muscles.
Pulmonary rehabilitation in COVID 19 patients is a supervised program that involves health education, breathing techniques, and exercise training for patients. It can also be used for people with certain lung diseases and conditions. The team for pulmonary rehab often includes respiratory therapists, doctors, dietitians, physical therapists, exercise specialists, and nurses. Together, they create a customized program to meet a patient’s specific needs and health conditions.
Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Often used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation can also aid patients with other diseases, including COVID-19. It allows them to cope with and avoid the symptoms that occur after coronavirus. Fatigue and shortness of breath are two major symptoms that are likely to be there for 3-4 months or longer after a COVID-19 infection. Also, depending on the severity of the disease, patients may experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dejection, and low quality of life. These symptoms can prevent them to perform normal daily activities, leading to an inactive lifestyle and allowing further worsening of the symptoms. Pulmonary rehabilitation in COVID 19 focuses on alleviating all these symptoms or helping patients to deal with them. It helps patients to break the cycle by giving treatment in a well-managed and monitored environment.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Exercises
Pulmonary rehabilitation is not just about exercise, but it involves many aspects, including education, counselling, and support for those suffering from severe lung issues. The plan may include:
Exercise training is intended to strengthen a patient’s arm, back, and legs, along with the muscles they use to breathe. The rehabilitation team may recommend medication to clear out the airways and adjust the regular oxygen therapy during physical activity. A key part of pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise training can help people build flexibility and stamina, making it simple to carry out daily tasks.
One of the key benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation is that it can help patients learn better breathing techniques. They will be guided about some specific techniques such as yoga breathing, lip breathing, and other methods. With such effective techniques, patients can better control their breathing and avoid issues like shortness of breath. They may also learn methods to remove or clear out mucus from the lungs
In a nutritional counselling session, patients will learn about healthy foods they have to eat to manage their condition. It helps patients ensure that they are having the correct nutrients at the accurate level in their daily diet.
Those who have chronic lung disease may also feel anxiety, depression, and be emotionally weak. Psychological counselling is done by individual or group support to help patients in stress management.
Education and guidance
Pulmonary rehabilitation in COVID patients may also involve guidance on lung function and instructions on keeping it in healthy condition. Patients may learn about saving their energy and avoiding shortness of breath with easy ways.
Pulmonary Rehab Exercises To Do at Home
For COVID patients, once they have been going to a pulmonary rehabilitation program at clinics or hospitals, they may be able to carry out some exercises at home. However, it is crucial to consult the doctor first before starting any exercise for pulmonary rehabilitation at home.
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