Your Lung Function – How is it Measured and Why it’s so Important!

Spirometer - Used to Measure Lung Function

What is your lung function?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (C.O.P.D.) and Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (L.R.T.I.s) – the 3rd and 4th most common causes of death in the world in 2012 according to the World Health Organisation. Both causes are related to the fitness and health of your lungs, so getting your lung function tested is vitally important!

When we assess lung function here at Flynn Medical Exercise, as a normal part of our Medical Health and Exercise Assessments (click here to read more!), we carry out two main tests:

  1. Forced Vital Capacity (FVC): After taking your deepest possible breath, how much air can you expire (blow out) of your lungs, when you expire as fast as you can?
  2. Forced Expiratory Volume (F.E.V.1): How much of that air can you blow out in the first second of expiring?

The results of both tests are measured in litres, and both tests require a specialised medical device called a Spirometer. Both tests are repeated three times and your best score is recorded as your result. Your results are compared with the healthy target for someone of your height, age and gender. If your results in one or both of these tests are lower than they should be, it’s likely that you don’t exercise enough, are carrying extra weight, and/or have an (un)diagnosed lung disease.

Why is lung function important?

Your lung function is important because, as with your heart, you need your lungs to live. Your lungs breathe in and out 15-25 times every minute of every hour of every day, so keeping them in good shape is critical to having a long, healthy, happy life. If you’re F.E.V.1 is lower than it should be, you’re more likely to die younger. You also potentially have a respiratory disease that you didn’t know was there. If you’re F.E.V.1 is less than 70% of your F.V.C., than it’s likely that you have C.O.P.D.

However, it’s not all bad news! At Flynn Medical Exercise, we can train your lungs to be able to breathe out larger volumes of air faster, making your lungs fitter and stronger. Exercising with the supervision of one of our clinicians can help train up your whole body, not just your lungs, which increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life. And our Signature Exercise Programmes (more info on these here) will keep you on track for the long term, so you have one less thing to worry about! Why not book your health check up with Flynn Medical Exercise today, and start a new, healthier chapter in your life.

Why not share this article on your Facebook or Twitter account so that someone who needs this type of test/check might see it, and get themselves on the road to a longer, healthier life. Thank you in advance!

Seán Flynn is the Lead Clinician with Flynn Medical Exercise, and takes patients in their Sandyford clinic. 

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