Spirometry is a standard test that is used to measure the amount of air that flows in and out of your lungs. The device used to perform a spirometry test is known as a spirometer and it works by recording the amount of air you breathe in and out and the speed of your breath. The physician performing the test will explain what you need to do, and you may be required to repeat the procedure a few times. The consistency of your results determines whether your lungs are working properly.
It is important to understand why you need a spirometry test especially when you are scheduled for the procedure as it helps you prepare both psychologically and physically. This article looks at some reasons why you should have a spirometry test.
- Early Diagnosis of Lung Conditions
A spirometry test helps to diagnose conditions that affect the amount of air your lungs can hold. If your doctor suspects that your symptoms are caused by a chronic lung condition, he or she may suggest a spirometry test to diagnose the problem. A few examples of chronic lung conditions include asthma, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These lung conditions narrow the airways making it difficult to empty air of the lungs. The results from a spirometry test can help your doctor diagnose any lung conditions and determine the cause of your symptoms.
- Provide Better Treatment
The results from a spirometry test provide timely data to physicians and are more convenient for patients as it uses non-invasive techniques. Doctors use the results to provide the best treatment plan for your condition. Onsite testing increases patient adherence to completing lung function evaluations and decreases wait times because it only takes a few minutes to get the results. The development of personalized treatment planning relies on accurate diagnoses from a spirometry test, which helps to optimize patient outcomes.
- Monitoring the Progress of Your Symptoms
The results from a routine spirometry test can be used to monitor your lung condition periodically. This helps doctors to determine whether you are responding well to medication. It is possible to determine whether. The device records the amount of air passing in and out of your lungs as well as the speed of your breath. If the spirometry test results are taking a downward trend, then your doctor may adjust your medication and treatment. Since the procedure involves the use of non-invasive techniques, it encourages patient satisfaction because people are always eager to find out the cause of their health condition.
- To Determine the Severity of Your Condition
If you have already been diagnosed with a lung condition, your doctor may recommend a spirometry test to assess the severity of your condition. The results from a spirometry test can be used to determine whether your lung condition is restrictive, obstructive, or a combination of the two. Obstructive lung disease is a condition that affects your ability to breathe out quickly but the amount of air held by your lungs is normal. Restrictive lung disease is a condition that reduces the amount of air you can breathe in because your lungs cannot expand fully to let in air. Some examples of obstructive lung disease are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pulmonary fibrosis is a common example of restrictive lung disease.
How to Interpret Your Results
Your spirometry test results may not be given to you immediately as they need to be examined by a specialist and sent to your doctor. The results produce two beneficial values that are used to assess and monitor the symptoms of a patient with impaired lung function. Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) refers to the total amount of air that an individual can breathe out at full capacity. Forced Expiratory Volume measured over 1 second (FEV1) is the amount of airflow during the first second of the forced vital capacity. The FEV1 is divided by FVC to give the air proportion that can be expelled in one second from the lungs. A low FVC reading indicates restricted breathing while low FEV1 reading indicates a significant breathing obstruction.
The primary role of a spirometry test is to provide a physiologic measurement that helps in the diagnosis and management of lung conditions. Good-quality spirometry should be done by a well-trained practitioner and requires a high-quality spirometer for accurate diagnoses. A specialized expert should interpret your results to help determine the best treatment plan for you.