Rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients
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Department of Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Independent Public Center of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Olsztyn, Poland
Submission date: 2010-11-08
Acceptance date: 2010-12-13
Online publication date: 2012-12-01
Publication date: 2023-03-12
Pol. Ann. Med. 2011;18(1):177–187
Introduction. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is recognized as one of the most frequent causes for hospitalization and disability, and one of the most prevalent diseases with a morbidity rate increasing worldwide. It is characterized by a not entirely reversible, usually progressive limitation of the air flow through the respiratory tract. It is associated with an abnormal inflammatory response in the lung to noxious particles or gas, most frequently triggered by tobacco smoking. Diagnosis of this disease must be objectified by accounting for the results of a lung function test (spirometry). Aim. This paper aimed at emphasizing the role of rehabilitation in COPD treatment, discussing its scope, methods, program, and effects. Discussion. Recently, the importance of rehabilitation in COPD management has increased significantly. It has been viewed as an integral part of the therapeutic procedure, equally important as pharmacological therapy and oxygen therapy. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs facilitate the control and subsidence of disease symptoms, enable the patient to achieve an optimal functional efficiency, limited only by the degree of disease progression, and improve the quality of life for COPD patients. It has been also noted that rehabilitation may decrease the costs of patients’ social isolation, associated with respiratory dysfunction. Pulmonary rehabilitation, as a separate type of rehabilitation, was proposed in 1981 by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). In the updated version of 2002, providing the guidelines devised by an international team of experts The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), pulmonary rehabilitation was recognized as an integral part of treatment. Conclusions. Pulmonary rehabilitation has become a valuable, important and efficient element of COPD management, equal to that of pharmacological therapy and oxygen therapy.