Breathing easy is something many of us take for granted – unless you’re one of the 35 million Americans who live with chronic lung disease. Patients suffering from any number of lung conditions in Lakewood and the surrounding communities can breathe a little easier, thanks to the new Pulmonary Rehabilitation Services at Kimball Medical Center. “The average American takes about 25,000 breaths a day,” says Vincent Tomasuolo, MD, Medical Director of Respiratory Care at Kimball Medical Center. “With every breath we take,” according to Dr. Tomasuolo, “oxygen rich air enters our lungs where it meets carbon dioxide rich blood carried from all parts of your body. Inside the lungs an exchange occurs – blood cells take in oxygen and dispel carbon dioxide waste. The oxygenated blood then carries its life giving cargo to the heart, brain, liver, and all other parts of our body.”
“A normal lung resembles a pink sponge filled with small bubbles or holes,” explains Dr. Tomasuolo. “Around each bubble is a fine network of tiny blood vessels that provide the lungs with a large surface to exchange gases – oxygen for carbon dioxide. Healthy lungs are able to perform this process effortlessly.”
That is not the case for individuals who have chronic lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema or bronchitis. “Today, chronic lung disease is the number three killer in America, responsible for one in seven deaths each year,” Dr. Tomasuolo adds.
If you or a loved one are experiencing shortness of breath due to a pulmonary condition including: COPD, Emphysema, Asthma, Asthmatic Bronchitis, Chronic Bronchitis, Bronchiectasis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Sarcoidosis, or Kyphoscoliosis, you truly need the expertise and knowledge that only a trained respiratory therapist can provide.
“Our new Pulmonary Rehabilitation program helps people with moderate to severe breathing problems overcome the physical limitations resulting from their disease,” explains Frank Rizzuto, Directory of Respiratory Care at Kimball Medical Center. “Candidates for this new program include patients recovering from an acute episode, individuals with lung disorders who need conditioning in preparation for surgery, and anyone whose activities are limited by chronic lung disease and shortness of breath,” he says.
Each patient’s program begins with a comprehensive pulmonary evaluation, conducted by nationally board-certified respiratory therapists trained in pulmonary rehabilitation. Once completed, a carefully planned and individualized treatment program is designed. Each treatment program includes supervised physical conditioning, exercise, and educational and nutritional counseling. The goal for every patient is to increase physical capacity and overcome shortness of breath.
“Typically, we work with every patient twice a week throughout the length of the pulmonary rehabilitation program, which will vary based on each patient’s condition and individual assessment,” explains Rizzuto. “In addition to exercise and education, every visit includes monitoring of your oxygen level, blood pressure, respiratory and heart rates, as well as assessing your lungs. Your progress is constantly being closely monitored and recorded by our respiratory therapists and is overseen by our Medical Director, Vincent Tomasuolo, MD, pulmonary medicine specialist.
“Our therapists work closely with patients to help manage their condition, enhance lung function and improve the quality of their lives,” says Dr. Tomasuolo. Those efforts include a combination of therapy services at Kimball Medical Center as individuals with diminished lung capacity work to maintain their optimal level of activity and function.
An affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, Kimball Medical Center is a fully accredited, 350-bed facility offering the most advanced ultra-modern therapeutic, diagnostic and treatment services. For more information or to schedule an appointment for a Pulmonary Rehabilitation assessment, please call the Respiratory Care Department at 732-886-4426.