Notes to Know About COPD/4Asthma – Spirometry Testing, Recent Insights > Part Two

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It is always important to know what is going on in the world of COPD/Asthma, hence a weekly (at the minimum) posting of ‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ – because those of us battling the issue should always be up to date on what is going on, and that includes both the positives and the negatives of the COPD/Asthma life.

Our posting today will hit home for many who not only are fighting the battle of COPD/Asthma, but are also fighting an addiction to the smoking habit that most likely put them in the condition they are in.

For those wanting to quit but have not found a suitable way to do it, this post may be for you as it talks about a possible change in previous thoughts regarding whether meds used to help quit the nasty habit are safe for those with current lung diseases.

Special Note – It was a Spirometry Test that we found out just how bad my lungs were getting and made the discovery that after all these years of working on the severe asthma, we were unknowingly also beginning the battle with slowing down the progress of COPD.

For all who find themselves suffering from any sort of breathing problems, especially to the point of upsetting your lifestyle and ability to work – then talk to your physician about getting a spirometry test and if you already have had one, be sure and not be embarrassed about pushing for updated spirometry testing every year.

This is part two of a recent write found on the internet regarding Spirometry testing.

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Obstructive or restrictive

An obstructive airways disease is where narrowing of the airways affects a person’s ability to breathe out quickly, but they are still able to hold a normal amount of air in their lungs. This is common with people with asthma and COPD.

With a restrictive lung disease, the air intake is reduced because the lungs are unable to expand fully, such as in pulmonary fibrosis.

According to data from NHANES III, a person is said to have an obstructive defect if their FEV1/FVC ratio is less than 70 percent in adults, or less that 85 percent in children, aged 5-18. This would place someone’s results below the fifth percentile.

A doctor can check whether a condition is reversible through the changes in FVC/FEV1 results after the administration of a bronchodilator. An increase of 12 percent in the results would show the effectiveness of a bronchodilator in reversing a condition, such as in asthma. Some symptoms cannot be reversed, such as in COPD.

A restrictive pattern in adults is demonstrated by an FVC result below the fifth percentile based on NHANES III data. In young people aged 5-18 years, a result lower than 80 percent indicates a restrictive condition in the lungs.

If a person is found to demonstrate a restrictive pattern, a full range of pulmonary function tests should be done. These would take place to confirm a restrictive lung disease, and what form of it the person has.

Other testing methods

Spirometry is the simplest and most widely used pulmonary function test, but other tests may be needed to make a final diagnosis.

Lung volume tests are the most accurate measurement of lung capacity. They measure the total lung volume and are done with the person sitting in a small, sealed room with clear walls, where changes in pressure inside enable lung volume to be determined.

Pulse oximetry test

The oxygen levels in the blood may be tested using a pulse oximetry test.

Lung diffusion capacity determines how well oxygen gets into the blood from inhaled air, using a gas mixture that contains 0.3 percent carbon monoxide (CO). The amount of CO left in the exhaled air demonstrates how well the person can absorb gas.

The breathing done in this test is less intense than in a spirometry test, but it can take longer. Blood may also be tested to find the level of hemoglobin it contains. Hemoglobin affects oxygen absorption.

Pulse oximetry provides an estimate of oxygen levels in the blood by putting a probe on the skin’s surface.

Arterial blood gas tests measure the levels of several gases in the blood, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Fractional exhaled nitric oxide tests measure how much nitric oxide is in a person’s exhaled air.

Additional testing methods may be used to assess lung function in infants and children, as well as those who are unable to perform spirometry and lung tests.

Chest X-rays and chest CT scans may also be used to see inside the lungs and diagnose certain conditions.

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‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ will continue to feature writings from medical folks and caretakers who share insights into the world of what may be going on in the world of COPD/Asthma.  ‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ can be found at either wheezingaway.com or within the Facebook page, COPD Travels.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer through wheezingaway.com – no part of this write may be used or copied without written permission.)

NOTES: Sometimes we share what may seem like medical information, but we are only giving descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.

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