Words of COPD/Asthma – ‘Diffusion Capacity’

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When you have a disability or chronic illness, one of the most important things you can do is to learn as much as you can about it.  The more you know, the easier it should be to get a handle on those days when you feel like it is a constant battle and you are not sure you are winning.

Knowing the language or words that go with COPD/Asthma is a great way to start or to continue to refresh a person’s knowledge of the ins and outs of the lifelong health companion which we are dealing with.

With that, we discuss some of what we call ‘must know words’ of life with COPD/Asthma – and today we will discuss briefly the importance of knowing the word(s) ‘Diffusion Capacity’.

What is ‘Diffusion Capacity’?

When you have a diagnosis of COPD and/or Asthma, your lungs are unable to transfer oxygen into your blood as easily as it should, and when that is a problem your physician and/or pulmonologist will request a test for your ‘Diffusion Capacity’ that will measure how effectively the gas exchange between your air sacs and your bloodstream is working.

Lung diffusion testing will measure how well the lungs exchange those gases and is an important part of lung testing because the major function of the lungs is to allow oxygen to ‘diffuse’ or pass into the blood from the lungs and to allow carbon dioxide to ‘diffuse’ from the blood into the lungs.

When the test that a patient will be given to check on their ‘diffusion capacity’ is requested, the patient will have clips put on their nose and then they will be given a mouthpiece which will fit tightly around your lips and mouth.  At that point, the patient will be asked to inhale a small (and safe) concentration of carbon monoxide mixed with helium, oxygen and nitrogen.

After inhaling the concentrated mixture, the patient will hold their breath for approximately 10 seconds before rapidly exhaling the concentrated mixture out.  When exhaling, the patient will be sending the concentrated mixture into a machine that will measure the flow and volume of your breath as well as how much of the carbon monoxide was absorbed into your bloodstream during your breath and how much remains in the air that you exhaled.

The results of this test will give your physician and/or pulmonologist an idea of how easy or difficult it is currently for your lungs to transfer gases from the inhaled air into the blood stream.

When low diffusion capacity is found, it can indicate the presence of severe emphysema, as well as several other possible lung diseases.  The test will also determine the level of damage the alveoli or lung structures responsible for gas exchange in the lungs have at the time of the test.

Your physician and/or pulmonologist will also get an idea of the severity of damage to the airways with this test.

One other note, the ‘diffusion capacity’ test normally does not affect those with asthma and will help in a physician and/or pulmonologist distinguish between the asthma and different types of COPD – even when symptoms are similar.

With that, we always like to ask a QUESTION OF OUR READERS, and today we ask, “When was the last time you had a diffusion capacity test done and what were the results?”.

As always – if you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

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.

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

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer, reprinting or reuse of this article is restricted without written permission.)

NOTE TO REMEMBER: We only give 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.

Know that you can follow all the writings by CrossDove Writer pertaining to COPD/Asthma by following at wheezingaway.com or on Facebook at COPD Travels.

(Information gathered from various books and internet sources discussing COPD, Asthma and other lung diseases)

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