When a close family member always complains about being unable to breathe, it is not shocking for you to want to bring them to a lung specialist to have them checked. After all, a lot of illnesses tend to start from a simple difficulty in breathing. If you take that for granted, the condition might develop into something worse later.
Now, once you meet the doctor, one of the typical tests that they may ask your relative to take is spirometry.
What Is It?
Spirometry is a medical examination that’s typically accomplished by a certified health practitioner with the aim of diagnosing the probable lung disease(s) that the patient may have. The test gets performed as well even after the initial analysis to understand how the ailment progresses.
A spirometry assessment has become among the most utilized exams due to its ability to evaluate the competence of the lungs and the capacity of the individual to inhale and exhale with ease. The reason why the latter is part of what the doctors validate through the test is that – as mentioned above – the people who experience lung condition(s) often have difficulty in breathing. Some of the illnesses that it can identify are cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
What Is A Spirometer?
The examination can only take place if a spirometer machine is available. This apparatus comes with a sensor and a mouthpiece in which the patient can inhale and exhale into during the testing period. The device functions after connecting it to a customized computer that can generate a spirometer graph, but there are newer versions that allow the individual to link the medical instrument to a handheld gadget.
How the device works is quite simple. It calculates the amount of air that the person inhales and takes note of how fast they exhale. After blowing into the mouthpiece as per the doctor’s instructions, the machine will tally the data and produce numerical results that a specialist can interpret for the patient.
A spirometer often gives off reliable test results. Nevertheless, some lung diseases require further evaluation as the apparatus cannot detect functional residual capacity (FRC) and total lung capacity (TLC).
Who Needs Spirometry?
The people who may get advised to undergo spirometry are the ones who experience shortness of breathing or have their air passageways blocked by mucus. It is also an essential test to assist the practitioner and the patient who is already receiving lung treatment in finding out whether the medicine has a positive effect or not. Moreover, athletes use portable spirometers during practice and real matches to check the capability of their lungs to proceed with the game.
How To Prepare For The Examination?
While there are no stringent precautions that patients need to follow before a Spirometry test, it is a common practice to put on comfortable and loose-fitting garments so that you can breathe in and out well. In case you are a smoker or a heavy eater, you ought to avoid smoking or consuming a lot of food a day before the examination. These precautionary measures can ensure that your breathing process will not be affected by such activities.
What Can You Expect To Happen During The Test?
Spirometry is a non-invasive examination, which entails that no tube, need or whatever will go inside your body while getting tested. You only have to breathe through a mouthpiece for the machine to be able to record the amount of air in your lungs and how fast your breathing pattern may be.
You may even obtain the assessment while sitting or standing, depending on which position is comfortable. The only important rule is to ascertain that the patient is in an upright position so that nothing restricts the air passages. If you slouch or lie down, for instance, there is a high possibility that your breaths will be shorter and the result will not become accurate.
In no more than ten minutes after that, the physician can read the results.
What Are The Benefits Of Undergoing Spirometry?
One of the advantages of undergoing spirometry is that the process requires you to inhale deeply before expelling your breath through a mouthpiece for a few seconds. Some first-timers tend to feel light-headed after taking the test, but it genuinely serves as an exercise for the lungs. When you exhale that much, after all, you manage to push germs and other fluids out of that specific organ. Then, once you breathe in, more oxygen will enter your system.
Using a spirometer seems beneficial as well for folks who are about to get surgery. Although it is not something that everyone in the medical field agrees on, a few specialists recommend its regular use before a person goes under the knife to strengthen their lungs.
Spirometry is a diagnostic test that does not pose a significant risk to anyone who takes it. No part of the machine goes in the body; you don’t have to get injected with anything either. Whether you suspect that you have a lung disease or not, you should ask your physician if you can undergo this examination now.