Help with breathing trouble

FOLK suffering from breathing problems can get help for their condition thanks to an Ashfield health programme.

The service is based at Ashfield Community Hospital in Kirkby and is delivered by a community team of specialists from the Trust and County Health Partnerships.

Dr Sue Revill, clinical scientist in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Services at the trust, said: “The programme consists of supervised exercise and a series of information sessions to help people care for their lungs.”

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“It may seem odd to ask someone who gets breathless to exercise but the therapy works by increasing fitness and muscle strength, which in turn improves breathing capacity”.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is now recognised as one of the top therapies to help people with respiratory and breathing problems. It is a programme of exercise and information delivered by physiotherapists and specialist nurses for people with conditions such as COPD, severe asthma, lung fibrosis and bronchiectasis.

Evidence has proven that exercise therapy reduces breathlessness, chest infections and can stop people being admitted to hospital. Research has shown that pulmonary rehabilitation can bring about better improvements than medication alone.

Local resident Jean Flint, who completed the programme recently, said the exercise really helped her to control her breathing and become fitter as a result: “When I started the sessions at first I was very anxious and did not know what to expect, but now I have completed the programme and really enjoyed it, I did not want it to end!”

Dr Revill wants local people to think about whether this service could benefit them: “Do you become breathless when carrying out simple everyday tasks? Are you more susceptible to chest infections in winter? Do you have a long-term lung condition?

“If you said yes to these you may well benefit from a course of pulmonary rehabilitation.

“The NHS faces increased pressures during the winter months with more people suffering from chest infections, colds and flu. Patients who complete pulmonary rehabilitation are actually less likely to be admitted to hospital and are more aware of when to seek medical advice regarding their symptoms”.

If you think pulmonary rehabilitation could help, talk to your GP or practice nurse.