National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week is observed from the second Sunday of March each year. This year, it takes place from March 12 to 18. Established by the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (A.A.C.V.P.R.), this week-long event aims to celebrate pulmonary rehabilitation programs and the rehabilitation therapists who administer them. The American holiday was created to highlight the importance of rehabilitation and the impact it has on the lives of people with chronic pulmonary illnesses that severely hamper the functioning of the lungs. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs help such individuals avoid the need for emergency acute care.
History of National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week
Pulmonary diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (C.O.P.D.) have been around for a long time now, but pulmonary rehabilitation as we know it today only came about as late as the 1990s. A century ago, the common medical suggestion for patients with C.O.P.D. was to avoid physical exertion. In 1952, Columbia University’s Alvan Barach became one of the earliest propounders of pulmonary rehabilitation through the means of exercise. University of Colorado-affiliated Thomas Petty designed the first outpatient program for pulmonary rehabilitation. The subsequent years saw the establishment of several rehabilitation programs modeled after Petty’s and the acceptance of exercise as integral to managing pulmonary diseases.
Today, pulmonary rehabilitation helps patients manage a range of illnesses like C.O.P.D., including asthma, pulmonary hypertension, and cystic fibrosis. These supervised programs help improve their quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation improves strength, helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and makes it easier for patients to carry out routine tasks, social activities, etc. The programs may be carried out in medical institutions like hospitals or clinics, or at home, depending entirely on the unique needs of the patient.
With home programs, the intricacies are supervised through dedicated activity monitors or smartphone applications. The specifics of each program are designed by the program supervisor to suit the patient’s needs. The risks associated with pulmonary rehabilitation are few and rare. While it is possible to sustain injuries through physical activities, as long as such difficulties are brought to the attention of the program supervisor on time, the required medical intervention will be administered to the patient.
National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week timeline
Alvan Barach propounds that exercise is good for patients with pulmonary illnesses.
Thomas Petty publishes his paper “A Comprehensive Care Program for Chronic Airway Obstruction,” stating that exercise leads to improved conditions in patients with pulmonary illnesses.
A definition of pulmonary rehabilitation is formulated by the American College of Chest Physicians.
Exercise is dubbed an “essential component” by the American Thoracic Society.
National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week FAQs
What diagnosis qualifies for pulmonary rehab?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is usually available to people living with conditions like C.O.P.D., asthma, chronic bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis, among other conditions.
How long is pulmonary rehab?
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can last anywhere between four to 12 weeks.
How often do you have pulmonary rehab per week?
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs need to be attended two to three times per week. It all depends on the patient’s diagnosis and specific needs.
How to Observe National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week
Share your story
If you’re an individual living with a pulmonary illness, talk about how pulmonary rehabilitation has helped you. Write an article, share a social media post, or give a talk at a local event; whatever you choose, the goal is to educate at least one person.
Nourish and move your body
Even if you don’t live with a pulmonary illness, this week is an opportunity to appreciate your body for the movement it makes possible. Move around, dance, practice yoga, and be sure to nourish yourself with plant-based whole foods.
Donate to the cause
If it’s within your means, donate to an organization whose focus is on making pulmonary rehabilitation available to more people or on improving existing programs through research. You may also donate your skills and your time by volunteering.
5 Facts About The Human Lungs
Lungs can float in water
They are the only human organ that can stay afloat when placed in water.
The left lung is smaller than the right to accommodate the heart.
About 70% of waste is eliminated by the lungs through the process of breathing.
Women and children breathe faster
It’s been found that, on average, children and women breathe faster than men.
The rate of exhaling water
Human beings exhale about 17.5 milliliters of water per hour.
Why National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week is Important
It raises awareness
The first and foremost aim of the National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week is to raise awareness about pulmonary rehabilitation among the general public. The week reminds people about the diseases and this highly effective management tool for them. With this new consciousness, people are pushed to educate themselves about it and to be helpful to themselves, their families, and their communities.
It celebrates rehabilitation therapists
The week also celebrates the dedicated professionals who work as rehabilitation therapists. Their tireless effort in designing life-improving programs deserves to be appreciated.
For people living with pulmonary illnesses
National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week draws attention to the community of people living with pulmonary diseases. It gives them a dedicated platform for greater visibility which will encourage more donations to their cause, more research work, more policies to benefit them, and more social sensitivity to their condition.
National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week dates