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      Helping people with COPD breathe a little easier

      Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breath.

      COPD causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and can make every day activities impossible. There is no cure for COPD, but there are treatment options. One of those is the Pulmonary Rehabilitation that's offered at Mercy Hospital Cadillac.

      63-year-old Caroline Lanspeary knows the struggles of COPD first hand.

      After years of smoking and suffering from shortness of breath, in 2007 Lanspeary suffered a heart attack. She was forced to quit her job in Special Education and was diagnosed with COPD.

      "I could not be active, it was difficult to vacuum the floor," explains Lanspeary.

      Lanspeary knew she wasn't going to get better, she just didn't want to get any worse. In 2012 she found the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center at Mercy Hospital Cadillac.

      With a referral from her doctor, Lanspeary went through the diagnostic testing and eased into the program. Todd Cross, a Respiratory Therapist for the program explains why it's important to start slowly.

      "We're dealing with patients who have trouble breathing, so we don't want to discourage them right out of the gate," explains Cross.

      The program offers patients progressively more challenging exercises and education classes. Health professionals work closely with each patient to minimize their risk and promote rehabilitation.

      "We teach them how to breath, we teach them how to control their anxiety because when you can't breath you instantly panic," said Cross.

      You can find more information about COPD and Pulmonary Rehabilitation on Munson Healthcare's website.