Do I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?Credit:

If have a history of smoking, exposure to air-pollutants, were exposed to second hand smoke, or if there is a history of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) then you may be at risk for developing the disease.

In fact, many people may develop COPD but fail to notice it until the symptoms become moderate to severe.  How can you be pro-active and get peace of mind that you don’t have COPD?  One of the most telling ways is to ask your doctor for a breathing test, or spirometry.

Spirometry and COPD

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are in the early stages or at a higher risk then spirometry will be able to tell you. A spirometry is a simple breathing test that will be able to tell you and your doctor how well your lungs are working.  It is an indepth and detailed test unlike the old “stethoscope to the chest and back while taking deep breaths” routine at a regular doctor office visit.

Spirometry tests are non-intrusive and are used to diagnose COPD.  You will be asked to blow all the air out of your lungs into a mouth piece.  That mouth piece is connected to a machine called a spirometer.

The spirometer actually takes two readings.  The first reading is the measurement of the amount of air that you blow out of your lungs in the first second.  The second reading is the measurement of the air that you blow in six seconds or more.r

Understanding the Spirometry Test for Your COPDSpirometer and COPDCredit:

The numbers that the machine calculates will be FEV1 and FVC.  Sometimes machines and doctors will use the FEV6 designator rather than that of FVC.  Pretty self-explanatory here; FEV1 is the measurement of the first second of air and the FVC or FV6 is the measurement of air in the six seconds or the entire exhalation until you were unable to blow anymore.

The good thing about the spirometer is that it will not only tell your doctor if you have COPD but also how severe your COPD is.

People who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will have an FEV1/FVC ratio of 70%.  The first number, the FEV1 percentage predicted will tell the doctor just how severely the air ways in the lungs are obstructed or blocked.  If a person has 80% they are said to have moderate COPD and 50% or less is severe COPD.

Why it's Important to Get Tested

Well, if you’re reading this article then it’s possible that you or someone you know may have a fear of having COPD (to include emphysema and chronic bronchitis) or are exhibiting the symptoms.  It would be a mistake to leave suspected symptoms undiagnosed and untreated.  COPD is the type of disease that can get worse a lot faster if it is not treated or properly medicated.  Cures for COPD are still not here but with proper and timely diagnosis there are treatments are available to help people live a better more comfortable life with the disease.