A spirometer is a device/instrument that helps in measuring the air capacity of our lungs. It records the volume of air inspired and expired by our lungs. The test conducted using this device is known as a spirometry test, and this helps in letting you know how well your lungs are functioning. A spirometer test can also help in diagnosing a patient’s certain lung conditions that include:
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Restrictive Lung Diseases
- Other Lungs Disorders
A spirometry COPD diagnosis assists doctors in managing the disease throughout its treatment. A spirometer is used when a patient has trouble in breathing such as a cough, mucus accumulation and production and shortness of breath. This test is able to detect COPD in its very early stages even before any of the obvious symptoms become prominent.
How to prepare for a spirometry test?
In order to prepare for a spirometry test, you are advised not to smoke at least an hour before it is conducted. Patients should avoid drinking alcohol and eating any large meals that might affect your breathing rate. The breathing rate must be normal and other doctor’s instructions should be followed.
How does the test work?
Using a spirometer, the doctor will instruct the patient to take a deep breath and then exhale all the air out. This is repeated several times until the optimal result is noted. This test measures how quickly you can inhale and exhale the air. The result is displayed on a graph and the device will measure the following:
- Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) – Total amount of air that a patient was able to exhale
- Forced Expiratory Volume 1 (FEV1) – The amount exhaled during 1-second
- Vital Capacity (VC) – The maximum amount of air exhaled from the lungs
- FEV1/FVC ratio – shows the amount of air expelled from the lungs in 1 second proportional to the total air expelled from the lungs.
Once the spirometry test has been conducted and the above measurements have been recorded the doctor should advise the use of spirometer regularly to track the progression of COPD. It will also help monitor the function of your lungs.
The spirometry COPD diagnosis will be monitored according to the FEV1 and FVC readings as well as the ‘Normal, predicted values.’ Reading the spirometry normal values is critical. These values are the values of people with normal lung functions, recorded during population research studies.
A normal result has an FVC and FEV1 above 80%.
Test results will be categorized as Mild, Moderate, Severe and Very Severe COPD and treatment will be personalized accordingly.
Using a spirometer regularly helps in tracking how crucial COPD progression is. With the help of spirometry COPD diagnosis, a patient will be treated and prescribed medication.
There are other factors such as lung capacity, cardiovascular diseases and physical conditions that are taken into consideration when patients are being treated. Patients should have scheduled tests using a spirometer and in turn, treatment will be adjusted.