While primary care doctors can handle mild or short-term conditions - such as those caused by a cold or respiratory infection - you'll need to see a pulmonologist to diagnose, treat and manage more complex illnesses that primarily affect the lungs. At ACMH, highly-trained pulmonologists work with patients facing serious or chronic breathing problems.
What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
With COPD, the airways in your lungs become inflamed and thicken, and the tissue where oxygen is exchanged is destroyed. The flow of air in and out of your lungs decreases. When that happens, less oxygen gets into your body tissues, and it becomes harder to get rid of the waste gas carbon dioxide. As the disease gets worse, shortness of breath makes it harder to remain active.
Sometimes referred to as either chronic bronchitis or emphysema, most people will have symptoms of both conditions, so health professionals prefer to call the disease COPD. However, some doctors think that chronic bronchitis may be present even though a person does not have the airway obstruction characteristic of COPD. Your doctor can explain your condition and the best way to treat it.
It is important to remember that in many cases, COPD can be prevented and treated!
How Serious Is COPD?
COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States. More than 16.4 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. At this time there is no cure, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing.
It Can Be Treated
There is no cure for COPD, but the good news is that it can be found early. Much can be done to treat and help manage the disease. Through medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and social support, many people are able to live with their disease for many years.
Why Do I Need Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
The ACMH Pulmonary Rehab program is designed to help you understand your breathing and learn how to manage and live better with your condition. It also serves as a forum to ask questions and discuss topics that arise when dealing with a chronic condition. Some people become depressed and/or anxious with a chronic disease. Pulmonary rehab has been shown to decrease these feelings as you become more physically fit, learn more about your condition, and speak with others.
The exercise sessions are designed for your specific needs and abilities. Prior to starting the program, you will be evaluated to find out the best and safest exercises for you. Reports from programs worldwide have shown that pulmonary rehab is safe. The sessions are supervised by trained healthcare professionals; they will monitor you as you exercise and ensure you are safe.
Pulmonary rehab is a complement - not an alternative to - existing medical therapy such as inhaled or pill forms of medicines. In the United States, individuals enrolled in a pulmonary rehabilitation program typically meet at the program site 2-3 times a week for 6-12 weeks.
How Does the Program Work?
Learning about your specific lung problem from a team of healthcare experts, will help empower you to be a better manager of your disease in collaboration with your own healthcare team. It should also help you learn to communicate your health issues more effectively with your provider.
Talking about your breathing problems with others who have similar problems may help you deal with the many emotions often experienced by those with a chronic health problem.
If you feel in control of your lung problem, you may feel less stress and have a more positive outlook about your health and life.
Individuals with breathing problems can have shortness of breath during exercise or even regular activity. Unfortunately, people try to avoid this feeling by becoming less and less active. This plan may work at first, but in time leads to a vicious circle of avoiding activities which leads to getting out of shape or becoming deconditioned. This can result in even more shortness of breath with activities. Pulmonary rehab exercise training interrupts this cycle, and helps you get in shape and be more active with less shortness of breath.
Those Who Benefit From Pulmonary Rehab Include Those With a History Of:
COPD (emphysema or chronic bronchitis)
Interstitial lung disease
Lung cancer and lung cancer surgery
Lung volume reduction surgery
Pre and post lung transplantation
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
How Do I Enroll in ACMH Pulmonary Rehab?
Seek a referral from your healthcare provider or call (724) 543-8432, and we will coordinate all of the details from there!
Early detection is a proven, successful strategy for fighting many forms of cancer. ACMH offers screening with Low Dose Computed Tomography (CT) for people at high risk for lung cancer, the only recommended screening test for the disease.
This advanced imaging technology allows for an earlier diagnosis, and more intuitive treatment interventions. Talk to your doctor about low dose CT screening today.
Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a procedure that uses ultrasound technology in combination with bronchoscopy to visualize the walls of the airways and surrounding structures.
EBUS allows doctors to locate hard-to-reach tumors and small cell lung cancer. EBUS can also be used to take a biopsy from tissue in the lungs or from the surrounding lymph nodes in the chest.