All of our asthmatic patients are certainly familiar with the process of coming in to our office for their routine appointments and being told, “It’s time for you to do your breathing test”. Quite frequently, this is met by moans and groans from the patient. (Everybody loves to perform their breathing test!) But these tests are actually an important part of the care you receive from Allergy & Clinical Immunology. Hopefully, armed with the knowledge of its importance, you will look forward to performing your next breathing test!
The type of breathing test that we perform in our office is called spirometry. Simply put, spirometry is a maximum inhalation followed by a rapid, forceful, and complete exhalation. For our asthmatic patients, it is used to aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of their current condition. When spirometry is performed correctly, it lets us see not only how much air you can empty from your lungs, but how fast you can do it. The numeric results we obtain from spirometry are interpreted by your physician. What are some of the values we can see from your results? The following are two important values:
Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) – The largest amount of air that you can blow out after you take the biggest breath in. Normal lungs can generally empty more than 80% of their volume in six seconds or less.
Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) – The amount of air you can blow out in the first second.
What do these numbers mean? Each of the above values has a normal predicted range, and your personal results are extremely helpful to your physician with regard to your treatment. Spirometry results aid in determining the severity of your disease and how well controlled it is. Every time you perform spirometry, it helps your physician decide whether your current medication plan needs to be increased, changed, or even decreased. Getting your asthma under control and then maintaining that control is one of the goals that we have here at Allergy & Clinical Immunology. Obtaining quality spirometry results when you visit with us is just one of the many ways in which we can achieve that goal!