St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center offers Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

(PUEBLO, COLO.) St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center offers an eight- to 12-week pulmonary rehabilitation program for people with COPD and other lung diseases. The program is designed to help improve quality of life, better daily function, increase ability to exercise, decrease symptoms, and manage anxiety and depression. Each plan is individualized and includes exercise training, education on lung disease, nutrition, energy-conserving techniques, and breathing strategies.

Nearly 400,000 Coloradans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a combination of lung diseases that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and in some cases, asthma. According to the Colorado COPD Coalition, COPD whose symptoms include a chronic productive cough or shortness of breath is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Colorado ranks seventh in the nation for COPD-related mortality.

COPD is not only more prevalent in women than men, but they also are more often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. According to the American Lung Association of Colorado, many patients with COPD mistake their symptoms for a cold or asthma, and often do not consult their primary care providers until the condition has worsened to the point that it impacts their daily lives.

Ron Cothran, BS, RRT, CPFT, respiratory care supervisor and pulmonary rehab coordinator at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center, encourages people with breathing problems to see their doctor for testing. This may include undergoing a breathing test known as a pulmonary function test (PFT), a screening spirometry, or a simple finger prick blood test.

Oftentimes, women with COPD experience depression, but less than one-third are treated for this. Cothran says untreated depression may be related to misdiagnosis of COPD. Because their lung problems have not been associated with their decreased quality of life, depression and anxiety often go untreated, says Cothran. Patients who know they have COPD often withdraw from family and friends because of embarrassment or the perception of inconvenience. It is important to keep these folks engaged socially and continued with a sense of purpose.

One way to do this is through pulmonary rehabilitation. While COPD cannot be cured, it can be treated and managed, says Cothran. Not only will they gain tools to improve their quality of life, it puts them in an environment that helps them realize they are not alone and that there are others who understand and can give emotional support.

St. Mary-Corwins next pulmonary rehab program begins March 3, 2015. To learn more about the program or to register, call 719-557-5280.


About St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center
St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center is nationally recognized for its award-winning programs in womens services, orthopedics, cancer, cardiology, stroke, trauma and emergency services. St. Mary-Corwins expert team of physicians, nurses and caregivers provide compassionate, quality patient care, with access to the latest in medical technology. St. Mary-Corwin is part of Centura Health, connecting individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 17,100 of the best hearts and minds in health care. For more information visit St. Mary-Corwin Medical Centerwebsite or follow on Twitter @StMaryCorwin and Facebook at