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A spirometer is a device commonly used in a clinic to measure how much air a person is capable of inhaling, how much air they exhale and the rate at which the air is expelled (one second duration). In essence it is a measure of lung capacity or efficiency. The efficiency with which your lungs work provides information helpful in the diagnosis of asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and general lung condition. Values obtained from the measurements are compared to established healthy functioning norms for individuals of similar age, height, and sex to determine if the persons lungs are functioning properly.
Spirometry is also used to evaluate how medications may be helping individuals already diagnosed with a lung condition, to check a surgery candidate if their lungs are capable of handling the stress of surgery, and even as a screen for occupational considerations.
The Spirometry Test
This test requires that you breathe into a tube extending from the spirometer. In preparation for the test you are placed in the seated position, a clip is placed on your nose to compress your nostrils, and then you are instructed to take a deep breath and breathe out into the tube as hard as you can for several seconds. The results of the test are presented as:
- Forced vital capacity (FVC): the greatest amount of air that you can forcefully exhale after breathing as deeply as you can.
- Forced expiratory volume (FEV): how much air you can force from your lungs in one second.
These data points help determine if the person has breathing restriction and the significance of the obstruction.
Incentive spirometers are also used for breathing exercises helping a person breathe more deeply and fully.
ProHealthcareProducts.com offers a portable, compact, and lightweight spirometer for screening large populations, and respiratory muscle trainers to use in improving dyspnea, QOL, speech, and shallow performance.