Having lung disease is a constant struggle for the people who suffer from these conditions. If you are familiar with lung disease, you know that testing for these conditions is a must in order to stay ahead of the symptoms. Lung function tests, also known as pulmonary function tests, help measure how well the lungs work. These specific tests are used to look for the cause of breathing problems, such as severe coughing. So what exactly is found from measuring your lung disease?
What Tests Are Used for Measuring Your Lung Disease?
Doctors use lung function tests to help diagnose conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lung function tests are used to check the extent of damage caused by certain lung conditions. These tests can also be used to check how well treatments, such as COPD medicines, are working. Lung function tests include breathing tests and other tests that measure the oxygen level in your blood. The breathing tests most often used are:
- Spirometry – This test measures how much air you can breathe in and out. It also measures how fast you can blow air out.
- Body plethysmography – This test measures how much air is present in your lungs when you take a deep breath. It also measures how much air remains in your lungs after you breathe out fully.
- Lung diffusion capacity – This test measures how well oxygen passes from your lungs to your bloodstream.
These tests may not show what’s causing all of the issues. Other tests may be performed, such as an exercise stress test. This test measures how well your lungs and heart work while you exercise on a treadmill or bicycle. An X-ray may also be used in order to have a visual reference of the lung disease.
How Do Lung Tests Measure The Disease?
According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a lung function test measures how much air you take into the lungs, how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood and the strength of your breathing muscles. Here are some of the more common lung functions values measured during a test:
- Forced vital capacity (FVC). This measures the amount of air you can exhale with force after you inhale as deeply as possible.
- Forced expiratory volume (FEV). This measures the amount of air you can exhale with force in one breath. The amount of air you exhale may be measured at 1 second (FEV1), 2 seconds (FEV2) or 3 seconds (FEV3). FEV1 divided by FVC can also be determined.
- Total lung capacity (TLC). This measures the amount of air in your lungs after you inhale as deeply as possible.
- Residual volume (RV). This measures the amount of air in your lungs after you have exhaled completely. It can be done by breathing in helium or nitrogen gas and seeing how much is exhaled.
If you want to know more about measuring your lung disease, talk to your doctor or do some research online. If you or a loved one is interested in stem cell therapy for lung disease, then contact us at the Lung Institute to learn more or call (800) 729-3065 today.