What Is a Spirometry Test and What Do My Results Mean?

The health of your lungs and your ability to breath properly is vital to your wellbeing. Testing your lungs can provide great insight into any possible diseases, conditions, or complications you may be faced with. Identifying them as early as possible allows for more effective treatment.

If you have any breathing complications, your doctor may recommend you take a spirometry test.

What is a Spirometry Test?

A spirometry is a common test by doctors used to determine how well you’re able to breathe and how effective your lungs can bring oxygen to the rest of your body. It is part of a group of tests known as the pulmonary function tests (PFTs).

Spirometry tests are used to diagnose chronic lung conditions such as:

  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Emphysema

If you’ve already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, the test is done to show how well your medications are doing and to measure your progress.

What to Expect

The test is painless.

You’ll inhale through a tube, then exhale quickly into a machine called a spirometer. This will be repeated at least 3 times to ensure consistency.

At most, you may feel short of breath or dizzy for a moment.

The entire test should take anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes.

What Do My Spirometry Test Results Mean?

Prior to looking at the results of your test, your doctor will determine what a “normal value” is for you. This is done on a patient-by-patient basis, taking into consideration a plethora of factors such as age, height, race, and gender. Your results are considered normal if your score is 80 percent or more of your pre-established value.

Your results can help your doctor diagnose chronic lung diseases and show how much lung damage has occurred. Your doctor may need more tests for more information, but if not, you will be placed into stages or categories.

Often, doctors use two types of staging systems: the GOLD System and the BODE Index. Doctors use a combination of both the BODE Index and the GOLD System to help them stage COPD and other chronic lung diseases.

Your doctor will look at all your test results to develop the best treatment plan for you.

In Conclusion

If you have questions or concerns about the health of your lungs, talk to you doctor about spirometry. The earlier you have the test done, the sooner lung diseases and conditions can be detected and treated.

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