You may not realize what a major role your lungs and respiratory system plays in nearly every activity you do throughout the day. Like many people, proper lung function is taken for granted as you go about daily activities. However, when your lungs become compromised due to pulmonary issues or pulmonary disease, it can cause even the most simple activities like breathing, speaking, or even the most mild physical activity to feel unmanageable.
While many pulmonary disease can’t be completely curable, they are able to be treated. The first step is to speak to your doctor to discuss the issues you are having. As a result, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan to address and manage your respiratory issues and help you regain a better quality of life.
At Peake Physical Therapy in Baltimore, MD, we work with your medical provider to help patients rehabilitate from various pulmonary diseases. Schedule an appointment today to learn how how you might benefit from Pulmonary PT services:
What is a Pulmonary Disease?
Simply put, pulmonary disease is classified as a specific type of chronic respiratory disease (CRD) that negatively affects lung function and additional parts of your respiratory system. Unfortunately, many CRDs are not able to be completely cured. However, symptoms can be controlled and properly managed through various forms of treatment, including medication and pulmonary physical therapy.
There are many causes of pulmonary diseases including infection, smoking or inhaling second-hand smoke, air pollution, exposure to occupational chemicals, or exposure to harmful chemicals like radon or asbestos. Many pulmonary diseases often occur in people who had ongoing issues with lower respiratory infections during their childhood.
The WHO Global alliance against CRDs is an organization focused on treating people in low-to-middle-income countries that suffer from chronic respiratory diseases.
Types of Pulmonary Disease
There are many types of pulmonary diseases that can hinder your quality of life and cause difficulty breathing or with overall lung function. The most common are types of lung disease.
- Lung Disease: Lung disease is classified as any problem or major issue that hinders your lungs from functioning as they should. Many lung diseases involve a combination of issues with the trachea, right and/or left lung, and right/left mainstem bronchus. There are three main types:
- Lung Circulation Diseases: Diseases hindering the blood vessels’ ability to work correctly and often affecting heart functionality. These are generally caused by blood vessel inflammation, scarring, or blood clotting. Symptoms are generally related to issues with shortness of breath.
- Lung Tissue Diseases: Diseases damaging lung tissue and leaving lungs unable to expand completely. This is often attributed to excessive scarring or chronic inflammation. They often feel like they are wearing a restrictive vest that is too tight around their lungs.
- Airway Diseases: Issues affecting the airways and tubes that carry oxygen and other essential gases into your lungs. People suffering from airway diseases usually suffer from narrow airways or experience blockages that leave them feeling like they aren’t able to get enough essential air and gases into the lungs.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This is a serious lung condition that hinders your ability to exhale normally, causing trouble breathing and consistent coughing or wheezing.
- Cystic Pulmonary Fibrosis: This serious medical condition happens to people who are unable or have trouble clearing music out of the bronci, leading to lung infections.
- Pulmonary Edema: This is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs. The fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs. When it occurs rapidly it is classified as acute pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema symptoms include extreme shortness of breath that gets worse after physical activity, a feeling of suffocating when lying down, rapid or irregular heartbeat, swelling in legs or feet, fatigue, wheezing, gasping for breath, persistent cough that may be frothy or contain blood, clammy/cold skin, and anxiety.
- Asthma: Asthma is a broad term for when your airways are continually inflamed and may spasm, hindering your ability to breathe normally. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty getting enough oxygen into the lungs. These symptoms are often made worse during or after exertion through physical activity. Asthma is both caused and triggered by allergies, infections, and air quality issues.
- Emphysema: This is caused by lung damage that is often attributed to causes like smoking or second-hand smoke inhalation, exposure to poor air quality, or exposure to chemicals in the air, often as an occupational hazard. The main symptom is trouble exhaling air properly.
- Lung Cancer: Lung cancer causes people to experience pain in the chest or near the ribs, frequent respiratory infections, chronic dry cough often with phlem or blood, chest pressure, hoarseness, swollen lymph notes, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
How Can Pulmonary Physical Therapy Help?
Pulmonary rehabilitation (or pulmonary PT) is a unique type of physical therapy that is tailored to your specific lung-related issues. It is comprised of a routine of exercises and activities designed to help you gain strength, reduce symptoms of lung issues, have better control over your breathing, reduce anxiety, and increase oxygen flow into the body.
Pulmonary physical therapy includes a variety of methods to treat various chronic respiratory issues, including:
- Pesonalized aerobic and anaerobic exercises to increase endurance
- Breathing techniques
- Lung-strengthening exercises
- Exercises to improve breathing capabilities
- Exercises to increase oxygen capacity
- Postural re-education to increase respiratory functionality
If you are struggling with respiratory issues, speaking to your doctor or a respiratory specialist can help treat the underlying issue and get your symptoms under control.
Learn more about: Pulmonary PT