A spirometry (also known as a pulmonary function test or lung function test) is a common and effective diagnostic test to assess lung function. It is a reliable way for the doctor to test the lungs for conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma.
A doctor or trained medical technician may use spirometry to examine a person who has chronic cough and mucus production, or a history of risk factors for COPD. It can also be used to assess if a treatment or therapy has improved lung function, or if a patient’s condition has worsened.
Spirometry is a painless, noninvasive and effective test. During the test, patient will be asked to take in a big breath, and then blow as hard and long as patient can into a mouthpiece. This will be repeated several times and the test may also be repeated after medication is administered to check if patient has responded to it.
The machine measures how much air patient can blow out from the lungs and how fast patient can blow it out. A spirometry can inform the doctor as to whether patient’s breathing is normal through a number of common measurements, such as:
- Forced Vital Capacity – the largest volume of air that can be blown out
- Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) – the volume of air that can be expelled in the first second
Before the test, patients are advised to do the following:
- Do not smoke at least one hour before the test
- Do not drink alcohol within four hours of the test
- Abstain from eating a large meal within two hours of the test
- Wear loose clothing
- Do not perform vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of test
- Consult the doctor as to whether or not patient should abstain from inhaler medications prior to the test
Sleep Research Lab
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) causes a person’s upper airway to collapse during sleep, stopping air from travelling to and from the person’s lungs. This may result in a dip in the level of oxygen in the blood.
When the person starts breathing again (often with a gasp), some may wake up briefly while others continue their sleep without being aware of what is happening. This pattern repeats through the night and in severe cases, this cycle happens hundreds of times a night.
Left untreated, OSA can be a dangerous condition. Its effects often lead to poor performance at work or school and increase the risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Common Signs of OSA includes:
- Loud disruptive snoring
- Choking or gasping for air with pauses in breathing during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Nighttime gasping
- Restless sleep
- Memory loss
- Decreased attention and concentration
- Performance deficiencies
- Shortness of breath
OSA is a treatable condition – an early diagnosis of OSA can prevent health-related complications and produce a better quality of life.