Can you help with my pulmonary rehab questions?

Hi there. I am scheduled to begin pulmonary rehab once I get the referral from my doctor, and I’m not exactly sure what to expect. I see my new PCP for our first appointment on 10/24 and I imagine she will clue me in, and in the meantime I’ve been reading about it and developing all kinds of question. 1. It sounds like there is a lot of physical exercise involved? What if I am simply not able to do it? Sometimes the exertion of just walking across the room brings on SOB. Can I wear my oxygen while doing it? 2. I also have CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), and one of the articles I read suggested that pulmonary rehab could affect my CHF negatively. Anyone know if that’s true? 3. Do you do the rehab by yourself, or with a group of people? 4. What kinds of results are they looking for, or trying to measure? 5. Finally, I was told I need to get a spirometry test before beginning. I know I had one when I was first diagnosed and sort of remember it, but right now for me a “deep breath out” is the same thing as a regular breath out, meaning there’s no strength in it, no force, just a wheezy short breath out. I’m worried I won’t be able to complete the test. Any answers to questions will be very appreciated. Thank you!


Community Answers
  • Jamca7064
    10 months ago

    I start pulmonary rehab on April 23. Thank you Emil for your post! Makes me feel much better as I am kind of nervous but excited to go see what it consists of and to see what I am able to do. I am new here and enjoy reading all the different ways of coping and the friendship of all the help!

  • Jamca7064
    10 months ago

    Thanks so much Leon. I think I’m going to like it here ! And thanks for all the info!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi Jamca7064 and welcome! We’re glad to have you as a member of our online community. How exciting for you to be starting pulmonary rehabilitation! In view of your apprehension, I thought you might find it both helpful and interesting to look over this material which provides an overview: https://copd.net/living-with-copd/pulmonary-rehab/. Please do check back with us and let us know how it all went for you. Good luck! Leon (site moderator)

  • Jamca7064
    10 months ago

    Thanks so much Leon! Try to read and check out all I can .

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Emil and thanks so much for sharing your positive pulmonary rehabilitation experiences with our online community. It’s always good to hear when members (like yourself) are doing so well with rehab programs.
    We’re so glad that you found our online community and want you to know that you’re always welcome here!
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Ponyboy author
    1 year ago

    Hi Squirrels Holt,
    Thanks for asking. I haven’t started rehab yet. Yesterday I had my first appointment with a new primary care physician, and he scheduled an appointment with a pulmonologist for me – that’s so they can do a pulmonary fitness test to try to get a baseline of where I am right now, so whatever the rehab plan is will be appropriate. I appreciate you asking, and I’ll keep you in the loop!
    Warmly,
    Ponyboy

  • Ponyboy author
    1 year ago

    Ann, Leon, and Jenn,

    Thank you so very much for your kind and supportive words, the excellent links, and the answers to some of my questions!

    I appreciate all of you and am REALLY happy to be a member of this community!

    Warmly, Ponyboy

  • Squirrels Holt
    1 year ago

    Ponyboy,how did you get on with your first class of Pul Rehab-did you manage to do all the exercises? Your posts are very readable so please let us know how you are getting on. P.S. I’m in the UK but COPD has no restrictions !!!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    You know by now, Ponyboy – it’s our collective pleasure – we are all here to provide you with support, scientific information, anecdotal experiences and a sympathetic ear.
    Warmly,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Ann D. Cuccia, MPH RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Ponyboy! Great to hear from you again! Many people feel nervous about exercising and share many of your concerns before starting pulmonary rehab. It is important to know that the staff at pulmonary rehab is there for you to support you. Your exercise will be individualized for you specifically, based on what you are able to do now with a plan for you to progress gradually. You typically exercise in a group setting but each person has their own “exercise prescription” or plan, so you have the benefit of the company and support of others on a similar journey, but you are still exercising at a pace that is right for you. This group environment can be a great support network and motivator, you will encounter some that have been attending for several weeks who will impart their wisdom and others who are new to the program like yourself, wonderful friendships often develop.

    While exercising you will be able to stop and rest if you are short of breath. You will also be instructed on ways to pace yourself and how to use breathing techniques such as pursed lip breathing [https://copd.net/guest-expert/pursed-lips-are-not-just-for-kissing/ ] to help you manage your shortness of breath while exercising. When you are participating in pulmonary rehab the results you are asking about are progress in certain areas such as decreased shortness of breath with exercise, increase in walking distance, shorter rest times between exercise modes to name only a few. These parameters will be discussed when you attend your initial visit to pulmonary rehab, I suggest you ask all of your questions when you go for that appointment. As for your spirometry test, this test is done to provide a baseline level of your lung function, as long as you do your best that is enough!

    We all appreciate your sharing both your experiences and your questions. By sharing, you may help someone who is considering quitting and making similar changes take that first step! I am so excited for you as you embark on this next phase of your journey! Keep us posted! Thank you again for sharing and being a part of our community.
    Best,
    Ann (Site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Ponyboy – it’s clear you have some apprehension about beginning pulmonary rehabilitation and that’s to be expected. I see that Jenn has provided you with links to some excellent reference material right here on COPD.net. Take your time, read them – I’m sure you’ll find those specific articles will address many of your concerns and put your mind at ease.
    In the most general of terms, if your condition warrants the use of supplemental oxygen, you should certainly be able and even encouraged to continue using it while you’re doing the exercises in the program.
    It is a good idea to have a spirometry test prior to starting the program. This will provide the doctor and you a benchmark of where you are ‘now’ and also guide them on where to start your rehab exercise level. Your PCP visit on 10/24 should be able to address this. As well, your PCP visit will be able to specifically advise how your CHF will be factored in to the pulmonary rehab program.
    I’m sure others will come by here to provide you with their viewpoints on your questions. The main thing is Ponyboy, you’re progressing in your treatment and moving forward. Staying active is a key component of coping with COPD. I’m sure you will do fine!
    Warm regards,
    Leon

  • Jenn Patel
    1 year ago

    Hi Ponyboy!

    Wow, thank you so much for all these excellent questions! While you may hear from our other moderators and/or community members with their experience or feedback, I thought I would share a couple articles that could help with more info:

    1. https://copd.net/living-with-copd/pulmonary-rehab/
    2. https://copd.net/answers/expert-answers-pulmonary-rehabilitation/
    3. https://copd.net/living/fit-pulmonary-rehabilitation/ and https://copd.net/living/lets-talk-pulmonary-rehabilitation/ <– these are both from our writer Derek on his personal experience with pulmonary rehab!

    As you’ll see, these answer some of your questions. For example – even if you feel you’re not able to do the physical exercise, our community members’ personal experience (as Derek writes in the articles in item #3 above) is that the professionals at pulmonary rehab will “meet you where you are” physically! Many people find that while the rehab is challenging, it is simultaneously gentle. As Derek writes: “But how much pain would I have to endure? I asked myself. Would I be bullied into doing what I felt I was unable to?…We were told that should we feel we need to stop and take a break at any time it was OK to do so. Much to my, and others, relief.”

    I hope this is a helpful start, Ponyboy! Thanks again for being such a wonderful, active member of this community! We really appreciate your being here.

    Best,
    Jenn (COPD.net Team)

  • Emil
    1 year ago

    Hi, I am new here but I wanted to say that for me Pulmonary Rehab was a very positive experience. The staff was excellent. At the facility I attended upon arrival you are weighed and you have your blood pressure and O2 level checked. You are asked to rate your your shortness of breath on arrival. My workout consisted of 4 stages. First was the NuStep, this is a machine similar to a stationary but with a workout for your arms. The other 3 were weights, a treadmill and an arm crank to develop chest muscles. You are monitored constantly to determine if you are doing too much or perhaps you can to a little more.

    I found it very motivating. Even the simple act of having to step on a scale twice a week,changed my eating Good luck! I hope it works as well for you as it did for me!. .

  • Share Your Answer

    Poll