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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Pulmonary Rehabilitation & Oxygen Therapy

When the COPD becomes severe, symptoms often have to be managed with pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen therapy.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

People with COPD often suffer with symptoms that can make everyday activities uncomfortable and difficult. Pulmonary rehabilitation aims to improve the overall health and quality of life of people who have lung problems.

Rehabilitation programs focus on the whole patient. The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help patients remain as active as possible and carry out everyday activities. It may include:

  • An exercise program
  • Disease management training
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Psychological counseling

At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, you can expect care from a multidisciplinary team of experts to help you manage your disease. The team members may include:

  • Pulmonologists
  • Allergists
  • Thoracic surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Exercise physiologists
  • Registered dietitians

Oxygen Therapy

COPD often makes breathing difficult and less efficient, which can lead to low levels of oxygen in the blood. If tests indicate that you have too little oxygen in your blood, your doctor may recommend oxygen therapy to help you breathe more easily. Oxygen therapy is given through a mask fitted over your nose and mouth or a nasal canula, which is a tube with small prongs on the end that rest just within your nostrils.

Depending on the severity of disease, the need for oxygen can vary. Some people require oxygen most of the time and must carry a portable oxygen tank around with them. Other, people only need oxygen once in a while.

Oxygen therapy can:

  • Help you perform tasks or activities while having fewer symptoms
  • Protect your heart and other organs from damage
  • Allow you to sleep more during the night and be more alert during waking hours 
  • Help you live longer


Contact Us

If you have or think you may have COPD, we urge you to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you don’t have a physician, and you’d like to make an appointment with someone who understands COPD and how to successfully manage it, you may do so by calling our Physician Referral Department at 1-877-926-4664. You may also request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateJune 6, 2011