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Respiratory Therapist

What is a respiratory therapist?

Respiratory therapists are specially trained healthcare professionals who help treat and restore function for patients with airway and breathing problems. They often assess and treat patients with the following conditions:

  • Tracheostomy tubes (a special type of breathing tube for patients unable to breathe through their mouth and nose) and oxygen therapy

  • Ventilators (machines that breathe for patients with certain conditions, such as spinal cord injuries, who are unable to breathe on their own)

  • Chronic heart or lung problems that require breathing treatments and assistance

They may work in various settings in rehabilitation, including neurological (nervous system), cardiac (heart), and pulmonary (lungs) settings. Respiratory therapists may practice in a variety of settings, including the following:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Home health settings

  • Long-term care facilities

  • Private practice

Respiratory therapists may have either an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in respiratory therapy, and many are either registered or certified in their specialty.

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How Much Do You Know About Stroke?

Stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

1. What is another name for a stroke?
2. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.
3. Which of these is a symptom of stroke?
4. Which of these lifestyle factors plays the biggest role in increasing the risk for stroke in younger adults?
5. If a person has an ischemic stroke, how quickly should the person be treated to minimize long-term problems?
6. Which type of medicine is given to help prevent a stroke?
7. Which of these may be a long-term problem after a stroke?
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