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FEV1 and FVC: What Do They Mean for You?

21 Feb 2017
| Under Disease Education, Lung Disease, Medical | Posted by | 6 Comments
FEV1 and FVC: What Do They Mean for You?

People living with chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis, often have their pulmonary function tested. Many doctors use lung function tests to help diagnose, monitor and treat chronic lung diseases. Lung function tests are also referred to as pulmonary function tests (PFTs). Two important measurements gained from pulmonary function tests are forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC). To help you better understand FEV1 and FVC, we’ve put together the important facts about what these measurements mean for you.

How are FEV1 and FVC Measured?

FEV1 and FVC: What Do They Mean for You?

Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) are measured during a pulmonary function test. A diagnostic device called a spirometer measures the amount of air you inhale, exhale and the amount of time it takes for you to exhale completely after a deep breath. For pulmonary function tests, the spirometer attaches to a machine that records your lung function measurements.

What is FVC?

The forced vital capacity (FVC) measurement shows the amount of air a person can forcefully and quickly exhale after taking a deep breath.

Determining your FVC helps your doctor diagnose a chronic lung disease, monitor the disease over time and understand the severity of the condition. In general, doctors compare your FVC measurement with the predicted FVC based on your age, height and weight.

What is FEV1?

Forced expiratory volume is measured during the forced vital capacity test. The forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) measurement shows the amount of air a person can forcefully exhale in one second of the FVC test. In addition, doctors can measure forced expiratory volume during the second and third seconds of the FVC test.

Determining your FEV1 measurement helps your doctor understand the severity of disease. Typically, lower FEV1 scores show more severe stages of lung disease.

FEV1 and FVC are related and followed closely.

FEV1 and FVC Ratio

FVC can decrease in a similar way in both obstructive lung diseases (COPD) and restrictive lung diseases (pulmonary fibrosis). Often, doctors use the FVC and FEV1 ratio to figure out the specific type of lung disease.

For example, when FEV1 values make up less than 80% of the FVC, an obstructive lung disease is likely present. However, in restrictive lung diseases, both the FEV1 and FVC measurements decrease proportionally.

To determine the FEV1 and FVC ratio, your doctor will divide your FEV1 into your FVC.

What Chronic Lung Diseases Are Associated with a Decreased FVC?

FEV1 and FVC: What Do They Mean for You?

Chronic lung diseases affect everyone differently and progress at different rates. Your doctor may perform additional pulmonary function tests to monitor your FEV1 and FVC as well as other lung function measurements. Chronic lung diseases associated with a decreased FVC include:

  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Inflammatory Lung Diseases
  • Other Restrictive and Obstructive Airway Diseases

What Steps Can You Take?

Knowing your FEV1 and FVC will help you and your doctor understand the severity of your lung disease. You and your doctor will work together on a treatment plan. Remember to see your doctor regularly even if you are feeling well. Your doctor will monitor your lung disease symptoms, lung health and overall health to make sure your treatment plan is working well for you. If you see changes in your lung health or symptoms, call your doctor.

In addition to their typical treatment plan, some patients have tried lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. For example, eating a healthy diet and exercising can help with certain lung disease symptoms, such as shortness of breath. For some people, stem cell therapy has helped them return to their favorite activities. Stem cell therapy may promote healing and may improve quality of life. If you or a loved one has COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Phoebe

    5 months ago

    Dear Lottie,

    Thank you for your comment. Please keep us updated on how you’re doing after treatment, and feel free to contact your patient coordinator anytime should you have any questions or updates. We wish you the best and look forward to hearing updates from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute


    5 months ago

    I had the stem cell treatments last month and looking forward TO THE FUTURE. I chose to have the stem cell treatments BECAUSE, MY LIFE IS worth it. the treatment is not covered by insurance but, it WAS an investment in the quality of my life. traditional medicines were doing nothing to improve my condition. ANOTHER MENTION, I KNOW HOW BAD IT FEELS TO SUFFER FROM COPD BUT, OUR LOVED ONES ALSO SUFFER WATCHING WHAT THE DISEASE IS DOING TO US.

  3. Phoebe

    6 months ago

    Dear Pamela,

    Thanks for your comment, and we’re so glad to hear about your progress. We have reached out to our Testimonial Coordinator, and he will be contacting you very soon. As always, we’re happy to answer your questions and we enjoy hearing about how our patients are doing, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Pamela Harris

    6 months ago

    I had my treatment 2 years ago and would love to do a promo to help promote the quality and the safeness involved in treatment. I would not be here for not for my treatment there. Thank you ,thank you God. I am coming back . Only because I am using my booster as a booster shot. Not because I need it. I just never want to go back to where I was. Lung Cl7Mic gave me my life back. I want to tell the world. I was suppose to do a video. But somehow we never got it done. Please allow me to do one.
    Thank you God Bless
    Pamela Harris

  5. Matt

    6 months ago

    Hello David,
    Thank you for your questions. We do have special programs for veterans. Unfortunately, insurance does not cover our treatment at this time, it usually takes several years before insurance companies begin covering newer medical treatments, once they’ve seen a financial benefit in their favor first. If you have any questions, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149. Thanks again and have a great day.

  6. David

    6 months ago

    I saw an ad in the VFW Magazine that talked about those with COPD. What particular programs do you have for Veterans? Is it expensive and how much will it cost and does any kind of insurance or the VA pay for it? Thanks!!!

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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