Cardiovascular And Pulmonary Physical Therapy

Cardiovascular disease is the world’s number one killer and is also one of the most widespread of the chronic diseases of lifestyle. Cardiovascular and Pulmonary physical therapy includes exercise which is important to increase the ability to perform activities of daily living and to decrease the severity of breathlessness. It improves the cardiovascular system which is able to compensate somewhat for the impaired lung function. Heart disease and stroke account for millions of hospitalizations every year. Coronary artery diseases can lead to atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries, and as this condition advances, it can ultimately block the artery and stop the blood and oxygen supply to the heart. A stroke occurs when one of the blood vessels bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is clogged.

Difficulty With Breathing Can Be Very Stressful

Respiratory disease is characterized by an inflammation of the airways in the lungs which results in an obstruction to the flow or air to the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the name given to a group of diseases which include things like emphysema, asthmatic bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. There are many causes of COPD, but a huge percentage is due to cigarette smoking.

Some Of The Signs Of COPD Include:

  • muscle wasting
  • anxiety
  • breathlessness
  • excessive fatigue
  • exercise intolerance

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease doesn’t only cause breathing difficulties; it can lead to other systemic problems. Smoking causes most cases of COPD, and although COPD used to be more common among men, it now affects women equally.

Physical Therapists Get A History Of Your Smoking Habits

A physical therapist will perform an evaluation which will include a review of your history, including your smoking history, a review of your medications and what worsens your symptoms. The therapist will also test your muscle strength, walking strength and your balance.

Pulmonary rehabilitation which includes exercise training has certainly shown to improve shortness of breath and quality of life. The therapist will design a program that takes into account your goals for treatment, and their goal is to help you continue with your roles in the home and at work.

The physical therapist will design these special exercises that will train your muscles so that you can increase your aerobic capacity which will reduce your shortness of breath. Strength training in people with COPD increases muscle mass as well as overall strength. You will get exercises from your physical therapist to strengthen your arms and legs. The therapist can help you with muscle training, which helps reduce shortness of breath and increase exercise capacity.

Cardiovascular And Pulmonary Rehabilitation Physical Therapy

Blood pressure increases with age as blood vessels lose their elasticity and arthrosclerosis may narrow the diameter of the blood vessels. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure and it reduces hardening of the arteries. An elderly person’s balance may also deteriorate and a regular physical activity program can help to restore and maintain balance. It is important to remember that exercise improves bone density, muscle strength, flexibility and coordination. It will contribute to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight, and is good for mental health too.Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists Are Trained To Prevent Injuries

Proper training principles are vital to prevent injuries, and that is why Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy is about professionals who have learned how to show you an exercise properly. Preventing an injury is a lot easier then rehabilitating an injury. The specialist works with patients with heart disorders, the circulatory system, or pulmonary system and their mission is to focus on improving the patient’s physical independence.

Patients with pulmonary problems may need manual therapy to get fluid build-up out of the lungs and to this end they work with patients recovering from bypass surgery, heart attacks and strokes, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis.

Determining Lung Capacity

A doctor assesses the symptoms, and pulmonary function will also be tested to determine the patients’ lung capacity and to identify abnormalities in the amount of air in the lungs. The damage caused to the lungs is often irreparable and treatment includes stopping smoking as well as medication which aims to prevent further disintegration of lung function.  The good news is that within two years of stopping smoking, your risk for heart disease is halved.  Medications such as bronchodilators are often prescribed; these are inhaled. Other medications may have an effect on the capacity to exercise, and for this you should discuss the side effects of the medication that you take with your doctor.

Physical therapy encompasses different specialties which include wound care, sports, EMG, cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, pediatrics, neurological symptoms and orthopedics. They also practice in non-patient care roles like  health insurance and health care administration etc.

Physical Therapy Extended To Babies And Children

The physical therapy is extended to babies and children. For instance very premature babies are at risk of sustaining fetal brain damage and have problems with their cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. This results in not enough blood and oxygen to the brain. Cerebral palsy is often diagnosed immediately after birth, and children who suffer from fetal brain damage will have a lack of muscle control and difficulty with movement.

Some other symptoms will include seizures, hyperactivity, as well as hearing and vision problems. Because cerebral palsy can’t be cured, prevention is important, and scientists have discovered how to test fetal brain activity. They use a scanning device that sends light impulses into the mother’s womb and the sensors can detect small changes to the magnetic field surrounding the fetus during brain activity. Children with physical disabilities include children suffering from neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders.

Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Training

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy treats diseases and dysfunctions in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  Physical therapists need to complete post graduate work before they can administer this physical therapy.  Therapists will learn about the principles and practices of cardiovascular disease management and be able to recognize the symptoms of cardiovascular impairment for physical therapy evaluation and treatment.

Guidelines For How The Practice Is Conducted

In 1978 cardiopulmonary physical therapy was the first recognized clinical specialty within physical therapy. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties requires that a practice analysis be conducted every ten years. Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapists have to have in depth knowledge of the cardiovascular and pulmonary implications of diseases affecting these systems in the body in order for them to perform adequate assessment of a patient’s physical performance.

Exercise Guidelines For COPD

Exercise is very important to increase the ability to perform activities of daily living and to decrease the severity of breathlessness. The exercise improves the cardiovascular system which is able to compensate somewhat for the impaired lung function.

People with COPD need to monitor and control their exercise and some of them use what is known as a pulse oximeter to measure the oxygen saturation levels before, during and after exercise. Start exercising slowly and do not expect to begin with 30 minutes of exercise. Aim to start with 5 – 10 minutes of either light walking or cycling. As your body becomes fitter, you can increase the duration and the intensity of your exercise.

Therapists Work In Many Different Settings

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapists work with a multidisciplinary team to assist in diagnosis of conditions relating to the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.  You will find them working in a variety of different settings in a hospital, outpatient clinics, health and wellness clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, private homes, research centers, hospices and fitness centers amongst others.  Some work entirely with cardiac patients or respiratory patients while others may work in an acute medical setting where they work with a combination of patients.

Research has identified risk factors that can be grouped into factors contributing to heart disease. The more factors one has, the greater will be one’s risk of developing heart disease. Some of these risk factors are:

  • gender – men are at greater risk than women
  • men over 45 and women over 55 years are at greater risk
  • genetic or hereditary conditions – individuals whose parents have cardiovascular disease are at greater risk of developing it themselves.

The good news is that there are changeable risk factors:

  • smoking doubles the risk of a heart attack
  • hypertension – increases the workload of the heart causing it to fail. On top of that it increases the risk of kidney disease and stroke
  • physical inactivity – it worsens the other risk factors such as hypertension, cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, Physical activity reduces the risk and prevents heart disease.
  • Raised serum cholesterol – serum cholesterol concentration of greater than 5.0mmol/1 are regarded as signs of heart disease. These levels are affected by diet, hereditary factors, gender and age

Cardiovascular Physical Therapy programs are designed to help people with cardiac and vascular problems to recover and improve their quality of life. These programs include exercise and counseling.  The cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation team is made up of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, dietitians, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and pharmacists. Those participating in the programs can enhance the quality of their lives and achieve independence.

For instance exercise guidelines for high cholesterol would include a weight management program combining suitable nutrition and exercise which will substantially reduce the risks associated with a high cholesterol level. Aerobic exercise of 20minutes three times a week can be later broadened to include strength and flexibility which helps to improve muscle tone.

Rehabilitation Programs

Anyone with heart trouble can benefit from cardiovascular rehabilitation. Heart attacks, angina, stent and coronary bypass surgery can be avoided with cardiovascular rehabilitation because it reduces stress and makes you stronger whether you are male or female. Cardiovascular rehabilitation begins in hospital with education and guidelines for continued home exercise. The rehabilitation extends to when you are discharged from hospital and happens in the outpatient setting.

Exercise and education is offered three days a week, up to 12 weeks. It also includes supervised, non-monitored exercise programs in the fitness facility. The focus is aerobic exercise as well as strength training.

Pulmonary rehabilitation has two major components: exercise training and education/counseling. Exercise training strengthens muscles, improves stamina and teaches the participant how to exercise safely with less breathing effort. Education/counseling provides information about lung conditions and ways to reduce the risk of future lung problems. The rehabilitation team teaches the participant how to cope with lung problems and how to deal with fears about the future. Pulmonary rehab usually occurs in small groups, but each participant’s plan is based on the individual’s specific needs.

The Promotion Of Health

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy is a branch of rehabilitative medicine which is aimed at helping patients to improve their physical abilities. The therapist will work with patients whose movements are undermined by things like disease, aging, injuries or environmental factors. The entire physical therapy industry is about the promotion of health, People are evaluated and rehabilitated from pain and with physical therapeutic measures, the therapist tries to identify and maximize the quality of life through intervention and rehabilitation.

Physical therapy, contrary to what people think is alternative therapy but is actually a clinical health science. Other activities in the physical therapy profession include research, administration, education and consultation. Each state in America has its own physical therapy practice act which  defines the  profession within its jurisdiction The American Physical Therapy Association has drafted their own definition to limit the variations.  They also accredit physical therapy education in the USA. The physical therapy practice act is a law which defines the scope of practice of physical therapists, outlining licensing requirements and also establishing penalties for violations of the law.


Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy can certainly help you improve your mobility and quality of life, and the beauty of this is that with this therapy you can avoid the expense of surgery, not to mention all those medicines you would have to take with their side effects.

Leave a Reply