Early warning signs of an acute exacerbation are unique to each person. Usually you are the best person to know if you are having sustained breathing problems. However, some changes are more likely to be noticed by other persons. So it is important to share this information with your family and those close to you.
The most common signs and symptoms of an acute exacerbation are:
Worsening of your stable condition
Increased difficulty breathing, even at rest
To join a program, you’ll probably need a referral from your doctor and a test that shows you’ve had COPD in the past year.
You might work with a team of specialists -- ranging from dietitians to social workers -- who will figure out the best plan for your case. It’s often done on an outpatient basis, meaning you will not check in anywhere, at a hospital or clinic. Or you may get it at your home.
Learn more about the most important features of these programs:
The key to any pulmonary rehab program for COPD is exercise, which will help your lungs and heart work better.
Here’s some more about these exercises, which may be one-on-one with a trainer or in a group:
Lower body: Most rehab centers offer a set of exercises that center on leg workouts. They vary from simply walking on a treadmill or around a track to more intense stair climbing. Most of the proven benefits of pulmonary rehab are shown in studies of people doing leg exercises.
Upper body: The muscles in the upper body are important for breathing, as well as for daily activities. Arm and chest exercises might include turning a crank against resistance or just lifting your arms against gravity.
Breathing: Blowing through a mouthpiece against resistance may increase the strength of your breathing muscles. These exercises may be helpful for people with very weak breathing muscles.