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    Pulmonary Independence Program

    The Pulmonary Independence Program provides comprehensive outpatient care and support to persons with chronic lung disease, enabling them to improve the quality of their lives and achieve the highest possible functional capacity.

    About Lung Disease

    The most commonly diagnosed types of lung disease include emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis. Emphysema is a disease of the air sacs in the lungs, while asthma causes a person's airways to become hypersensitive to various irritants, resulting in inflammation and constriction of the airways. Chronic bronchitis involves an increased production of secretions in the bronchial tubes and persistent cough, and bronchiectasis is a structural distortion of the bronchial tubes, which obstructs breathing. Medication and a regular exercise program can ease the symptoms associated with lung disease, and proper nutrition can give the body the energy it needs to remain active.

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    Who May Participate

    Adults 18 years of age or older who have been diagnosed with lung disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis, are invited to join the Pulmonary Independence Program. A physician's referral is required participate.

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    Special Features

    • Physician-directed care: The Pulmonary Independence staff regularly communicates each participant
    • Comprehensive pulmonary evaluation: Before beginning the program, each client's fitness is evaluated and measurements are taken of his/her heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and body fat. At the conclusion of the program, a retest provides proof of the client's progress and the program's success.
    • Education: Topics include understanding lung disease, risk factor modification, nutrition, medication review, stress management and compliance issues.
    • Personalized exercise sessions: An individual exercise program is developed for each client. Regular, supervised exercise sessions enable clients to increase their strength and endurance, improve oxygen utilization, reduce hospital and emergency care visits and sometimes even reduce medication, decrease blood pressure and lose weight.
    • Asthma management program: This presentation teaches program participants how to manage their asthma and is also available to the public. Call (209) 572-7262 to register.
    • Support group: Clients are invited to participate in a support group where they can share their experiences with others who have the same diagnosis.

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    Know the Symptoms

    Symptoms of pulmonary disease may include:

    • Shortness of breath during everyday activities.
    • Fatigue and feelings of tiredness.
    • Wheezing.
    • Repeated bronchial infections and increasingly slow recovery times.
    • The most frequent sign of emphysema and other types of lung disease is shortness of breath, but until symptoms become severe, the disease may remain undiagnosed until its advanced stages. Anyone who experiences these symptoms or has a history of smoking or lung disease should consult a physician, who may order a pulmonary function test to determine if disease is present. Early intervention is the key to living a quality life after chronic breathing problems are diagnosed.

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    Limit Your Risk

    Factors which exacerbate breathing problems and may increase your risk of developing lung disease include:

    • Smoking.
    • Inhaling chemicals.
    • Inhaling insecticides and pesticides.

    While asthma and a small percentage of emphysema cases are hereditary, smoking is the major cause of all types of lung disease.

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