Spirometry – Lung Function Test
People with allergies have up to 10 times the risk of developing asthma when compared to the non-allergic patient.
Spirometry is a diagnostic tool that allows us to see how the lungs are functioning and is a vital study in determining how allergies and asthma can affect the bronchial airways and overall lung capacity. It is an objective study to evaluate the air capacity of the lungs. It can detect very subtle changes which may not be apparent on physical examination or even to the patient. Through routine spirometry, many abnormalities can be detected in the early stages, when treatment is usually most effective. According to Dr. Reuben Cherniack, a prominent pulmonary specialist at the world renowned National Jewish Health Institute in Denver, “The spirometry test is really analogous to the blood pressure measurement both should be given every time a physician sees a patient, since both tests show changes that can be recognized immediately”.
Programmed into our computer are nationally recognized predicted values of lung function studies based on age, height and gender. If your airways are constricted, perhaps as a result of an allergic reaction, some values may be lower than the predicted values. Sometimes, we will compare the best results obtained before and after treatment with a bronchodilator, such as Albuterol, Xopenex and/or Atrovent; medications designed to “open up” the airways and provide us with essential information when formulating your treatment plan.
FVC: Forced Vital Capacity is the total amount of air you can blow out of the lungs in a single breath.
FEV 1: FEV 1 is the amount of air you can blow out in the first second. Both FVC and FEV 1 are helpful in recognizing airway obstruction (blockage to airflow).
FEF 25-25: This is an important study because changes frequently occur here first before symptoms are noticeable. It measures airflow in the smaller airways of the lungs.