March 12 kicks off Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week, which celebrates rehabilitation therapists and programs that help patients breathe easy.

Carle Pulmonary team members focus on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses that affect the lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Darrell Abrahamson was diagnosed with Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency 20 years ago, with usage of 48 percent of his total lung capacity. “In 2013, I got pneumonia and a lung infection. I lost another ten percent of my lung capacity, so now I’m at 38 percent,” said Abrahamson. AAT occurs when the body does not produce the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein needed to protect the lungs from damage, dust or air pollution.

Pulmonary rehab helps patients manage the symptoms of their conditions, including AAT, using exercise to improve breathing.

“Darrell began pulmonary rehab because he was experiencing shortness of breath with activity,” said Sarah Moore, Registered Respiratory Therapist.

Abrahamson began rehab at Carle in 2014, and Victoria Famuyide, DO, medical director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation, began treating him as his pulmonologist in 2019.

“Each patient undergoes an initial enrollment assessment by the respiratory therapist, including a six-minute walk test, evaluation of any physical limitations due to prior injury and assess which equipment or exercise a patient will be able to physically tolerate,” said Dr. Famuyide. “The exercise is individualized for each patient to meet the target goals they would like to achieve.”

The rehab program happens in Phase 2 and Phase 3. In Phase 2, individualized treatment plans focus on preforming flexibility exercises, strength training and endurance exercises. These improve breathing, circulation, heart and lung function.

To read the full story, visit

Source link