Other Options for Those With Emphysema

Flu Shots
The flu (influenza) can cause serious problems in people with emphysema. Flu shots can reduce the chance of getting the illness. You should get a shot every year.
Pneumococcal Vaccine
This vaccine should be administered to those with emphysema to prevent a common cause of pneumonia. Revaccination may be necessary after five years in those over 65 years old.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

As part of treating emphysema, pulmonary rehab may be recommended. This is a coordinated program of exercise, disease management training, and counseling that can help you stay more active and carry out your day-to-day activities.
What is included in your pulmonary rehab program will depend on what you and your doctor think you need. It may include:
  • Exercise training
  • Nutrition advice
  • Education about your disease and how to manage it
  • Counseling.
The different parts of the rehab program are managed by different types of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, exercise specialists, and dietitians) who work together to develop a program just for you.
Common areas of focus during pulmonary rehab programs may include:
  • Medical evaluation and management: To decide what you need in your pulmonary rehab program, a medical evaluation will be done. This may include getting information on your health history, what medications you are taking, a physical examination, and learning about your symptoms. A spirometry measurement before and after you take a bronchodilator medication may also be done.
  • Setting goals: You will work with your pulmonary rehab team to set goals for your program. These goals will look at the types of activities that you want to do. For example, you may want to take walks every day, do chores around the house, and visit with friends. These things will be worked on in your pulmonary rehab program.
  • Exercise training: Your program may include exercise training. This includes showing you exercises to help your arms and legs get stronger. You may also learn exercises that strengthen the muscles needed for breathing.
  • Education: Many pulmonary rehab programs have an educational component during which you learn about your disease and symptoms, commonly used emphysema treatments, different techniques to manage your symptoms, and what you should expect from the program. The education may include meeting with a dietitian to learn about your diet and healthy eating, with an occupational therapist to learn ways to carry out your everyday activities that are easier on your breathing, or with a respiratory therapist to learn about breathing techniques and how to do respiratory treatments.
  • Program results (outcomes): You will talk with your pulmonary rehab team at different times during your program to go over the goals that you set and see if you are meeting them. For example, if your goal is to walk every day for 30 minutes, you will talk to members of your pulmonary team and tell them how often you are walking and for how long. The team is interested in helping you achieve your goals.

Information on Emphysema

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