Respiratory Therapy Programs

Written by James Lyons
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Respiratory therapists and respiratory care practitioners assess, treat, and care for people with breathing and/or other cardiopulmonary disorders. When evaluating patients, respiratory therapists will conduct a few diagnostic tests and a limited physical exam. They will test a patient's breathing capacity and appraise the concentration of oxygen and other gases in the person's blood stream.

In addition, a respiratory therapist will often measure a patient's pH levels. Your pH levels reveal the level of alkalinity and acidity in your blood. When evaluating lung capacity, a respiratory therapist will have a person breathe into a device that measures the flow and volume of oxygen during inhalation and exhalation. The respiratory therapist will then compare this reading with the average for that patient's demographic group (age, weight, gender, height). From there, the therapist can decide if the patient has any lung problems.

Prevention Is the Key

If you have an appointment to see a respiratory therapist, plan on getting poked by a needle or two. To scrutinize your pH, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, a respiratory therapist has to draw a little arterial blood. The therapist will then put your blood sample in a blood gas analyzer and send the results to your primary care physician. Your physician will take these results and make a treatment decision.

The best way to prevent a visit to a respiratory therapist is to create your own respiratory therapy program. This could include Yoga classes, Tai Chi classes, breathing meditation or all of the above. Proper breathing promotes overall health. Breathing exercises will not only stave off respiratory ailments, they can stave off ailments that affect other parts of the body, including cancer and heart disease.


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