Understanding Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a great way to stay active and healthy. There are many different types of physical therapy that can be performed, and it is important for you to know the differences. cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy both work on cardiovascular health, but they do so in very different ways. Cardiovascular physical therapy will focus on your heart, while pulmonary focus more on your lungs. Understanding the difference between these two options can help you find out which one will best suit your needs!
Cardiovascular therapies are generally performed by an exercise physiologist and are medically supervised. Cardiovascular physical therapy focuses on cardiovascular disease and is designed to help people recover from a heart attack or heart surgery. Some examples of cardiovascular physical therapy include:
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
Percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) are done as a result of atherosclerosis – a buildup of fatty deposits inside your arteries limiting blood flow to your heart. It is a non-surgical procedure that involves using a catheter to place a stent (a small vessel that keeps the artery open) between the walls of the artery to promote blood flow. Avoid the risk of developing atherosclerosis by keeping your body in check with an artery test.
Cardioversion is used for people with an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). The procedure involves administering drugs or an electric current so as to convert an arrhythmia to a normal heartbeat.
Pacing helps those who have experienced cardiovascular surgery and need their heart rate monitored throughout the day. It involves a small device that is implanted under the skin of your chest and connected to a wire lead. The leads are placed into the heart through veins in order to help monitor its activity.
Pulmonary physical therapy focuses on cardiovascular disease as well, but also includes breathing exercises. Pulmonary physical therapy can be completed by anyone but is typically performed in a hospital setting under the supervision of doctors and nurses. Some examples of pulmonary cardiovascular disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma, emphysema, respiratory failure, pneumonia, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and cardiovascular surgery. Especially with the prevalence of COVID-19, pulmonary physical therapy is becoming more popular because of how COVID-19 affects lung health.
A popular form of these exercises is diaphragmatic breathing, which is used to help people with COPD and cardiovascular health issues. Diaphragmatic breathing is also used for those who have experienced a stroke, as well as individuals recovering from pneumonia or emphysema. It involves breathing with the use of your diaphragm, or stomach muscles, which is helpful for cardiovascular health and breathing exercises.
You can discuss cardiovascular and pulmonary cardiovascular physical therapy with your doctor or you can visit one of the many cardiovascular health centers in your area. If you are not sure where to find a center, there are lots of online resources which contain information about facilities near you.