Breathing—it’s something many of us take for granted. For millions of Americans, however, the basic act of breathing can be difficult and even frightening.
The good news is, Holland Hospital Cardiopulmonary Services can help people who have chronic diseases affecting the lungs, heart and respiratory system breathe easier and live more comfortably.Our pulmonology experts and respiratory therapists collaborate with cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and additional medical specialists to deliver the best treatment options to patients of all ages who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and other heart and respiratory conditions.
What Are Cardiopulmonary Diseases?
Cardiopulmonary disease describes a group of serious, chronic conditions that affect the heart and lungs. Holland Hospital Cardiopulmonary Services offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of these conditions, such as:
- Asthma: About 26 million Americans suffer from asthma. With asthma, the airways of the lungs are often swollen or inflamed, making them sensitive to certain environmental triggers like dust, smoke, pet dander, or a cold or shift in weather patterns. Asthma makes it more difficult to move air in and out of the lungs.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. With COPD, the airways of the lungs become inflamed and thicken, and the tissue where oxygen is exchanged is destroyed. As the flow of air in and out of the lungs decreases, less oxygen gets into the body’s tissues, making it harder to get rid of carbon dioxide. This can cause shortness of breath, limiting your ability to remain active.
- Emphysema: Emphysema damages the alveoli (air sacs) in your lungs over time, making you more and more short of breath. This condition is one of several conditions known collectively as COPD. Smoking is a leading cause of emphysema. With emphysema, the inner walls of the air sacs weaken and eventually rupture.
- Fibrosis of the lung or lungs: Pulmonary fibrosis is one of a family of related diseases called interstitial lung diseases that can result in lung scarring. Symptoms of this disease include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and decreased tolerance for exercise.
- Pulmonary side-effects from medications: Many types of medications, including certain drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as illegal drugs, can cause damage to the heart and lungs.
A Team Centered Around You
With you as our most valued partner, we’ll design a personalized treatment plan that meets your specific needs and goals. Our cardiopulmonary specialists will first perform a thorough medical evaluation. From there, they’ll talk with you about preventive strategies for optimal breathing, tailor a comprehensive care plan, and collaborate with your providers, family and other support persons throughout your rehabilitation.
Together, we can help you gain better control of your cardiopulmonary symptoms, and stay as healthy and independent as possible.
Diagnosis: Your First Step to Better Breathing
The first step in successfully managing any cardiopulmonary condition is a professional, accurate diagnosis. Holland Hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Services works with your primary care doctor, pulmonologist and other specialists who may recommend you receive certain heart and/or lung function tests to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and develop the best course of treatment. These tests may include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Holter monitoring
- Oxygen therapy
- Pulmonary (lung) function testing
- Ventilation management
- Stress testing
Pulmonary function tests are used to detect the cause of your specific breathing problem, as well as help diagnose diseases like asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and COPD. These tests measure things like:
- How much air you can take into your lungs, which is then compared with that of other people who are your same age, height and gender
- How much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can blow the air out
- How well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood
- The overall strength of your breathing muscles
Breathing and Sleep
Millions of Americans suffer from breathing difficulties like sleep apnea and develop sleep disorders—many without even knowing it. If you’re one of them, Holland Hospital can help put your sleep issues to rest. Our Sleep Center features a comfortable, state-of-the-art sleep lab staffed by doctors who are board certified in sleep medicine, as well as other specialists with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.
Rehabilitation and Empowerment
Our professionals understand that rehabilitation isn’t a quick fix, but a process that takes patience, time and dedication from patients like you. Working closely with you and your loved ones, we’ll build a rehabilitation program that helps you realize greater independence and quality of life.
Maintaining optimal lung health goes beyond medical diagnosis and treatment. It also requires becoming an informed and empowered patient. That’s why our rehabilitation program emphasizes ongoing education and prevention strategies.
You’ll learn about breathing-control techniques to help manage your shortness of breath and other life-limiting symptoms. Our specialists will also discuss and provide guidance on:
- Managing mucus and avoiding infection
- Methods for performing everyday chores and activities with less discomfort
- Using medications to help reduce symptoms, and avoid complications and hospitalization
- Obtaining respiratory equipment
- Improving social, emotional and vocational status
- Confidence through self-management
- Eating healthier
- Relaxation techniques to cope with stress and anxiety
- Exercising safely for enhanced strength, flexibility and endurance
- Quitting smoking