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Respiratory and Cardiovascular Diseases

Physiotherapists Can Improve the Quality Of Life for Those Affected By Respiratory and Cardiovascular Diseases

As our population ages, more and more British Columbians will be affected by respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia or cardiovascular disease. In fact heart disease is a leading cause of death in Canada; approximately 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease.  For people afflicted their quality of life can be improved by working with a physiotherapist.  BC’s physiotherapists want to share their Physio-4 for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, 4 tips on how to manage these diseases, to keep British Columbians moving for life.

“Respiratory diseases are disorders affecting the lungs and their ability to take in oxygen from the air and deliver it to the bloodstream,” says Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC. “Cardiovascular disease is the narrowing or blocking of the coronary arteries that cause the heart to not pump as well and can lead to heart failure or a heart attack. Both conditions can be improved through an individualized exercise and therapy plan created by your physiotherapist.”

  1. Keep active. Keeping an active lifestyle will help maintain or improve your respiratory and cardiovascular health, making you less fatigued and can help you to live longer. If you have had surgery, walking is an important component of all post-surgical interventions. Work with your physiotherapist to develop an exercise program that suits your lifestyle and is appropriate for your health.
  2. Breathe easier. We take the ability to breathe for granted, until it is no longer easy to take a deep breath. For those with respiratory or cardiovascular disease (e.g. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)), or who have had surgery, lung function can become compromised. Your physiotherapist will teach you breathing techniques and exercises to promote optimal lung function and can perform manual techniques to assist with breathing and circulation to help control many of the symptoms of respiratory disease.
  3. Manage your condition/disease. Understanding the limitations and prognosis of your condition or disease can help to improve your symptoms and slow the progression. Respiratory and cardiovascular rehab programs are available through many hospitals or community centers. Patients with a wide range of respiratory conditions and patients who have suffered a heart attack can attend these supportive group classes, while getting back on track to health with one-to-one advice from their physiotherapist.
  4. Quit smoking and improve nutrition. Physiotherapists promote health in all aspects of life. Quitting smoking, and eating better more nutritional foods can slow and sometimes reverse the symptoms of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Ask your physiotherapist to direct you to resources that can help you change your health habits.

The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. Each month, on movingforlife.ca 4 tips are provided to treat specific health or physical conditions that will help keep British Columbians moving for life.  BC’s physiotherapists want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, they are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most.

To learn more about how physiotherapists keep British Columbians moving for life, visit movingforlife.ca.

 

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