For all of us living in “COPD World” we might be familiar with that dreaded test we took (maybe even a few times) where we blew the life out of ourselves into a little plastic tube we held between our teeth. That evil test is called “spirometry”. *Shudder*
Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit by calling it “evil” but it isn’t the most pleasant experience, right? But for those who’ve been diagnosed with COPD started on the path to taking control of their health management, most often than not, with a spirometry test.
There are official guidelines published by the American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society for proper diagnosing and management of COPD. And these guidelines both recommend spirometry testing for diagnosing COPD. Of course, a CT Scan can help confirm those results, but spirometry is an essential tool to identifying the cause of those symptoms and getting you onto the right track to managing your health.
Unfortunately, many doctors don’t do spirometry in their offices. Think about it: 24 million Americans are living with COPD and half if them don’t know it. That’s part of the reason why we’re spreading awareness about spirometry testing through our Mobile Spirometry Unit (MSU) program.
Now that I think about it, there’s a lot you have to keep in mind when you take the test. Don’t let the tongue get in the way of the tube opening. Are my lips sealed around the tube? Remember to not breathe in or the machine will make me do this over again.
And what about the things you had to do to get ready for the test? Did I go to the bathroom? Do I need to go now? I think I need to go now . . .
Like any test you have to take at the doctor’s, there’s always some prepping involved, so it’s good to check with your doctor’s office for ideas on what to expect when you’re taking a spirometry test.
So, all in all, spirometry is a good thing . . . no matter how unpleasant it is for a moment. It’s well worth the effort to get numbers to associate with your lung health.
Side bar: last week we talked about the importance of exercise and nutrition, and I think there’s a general consensus that it these are two important elements in a COPDers management—no question. I’m exploring the idea of writing about COPDers who do yoga. It looks like many COPDers have taken up this kind of exercise routine because it helps with breathing and relaxation, so we’ll look forward to something in the next few weeks. And if you have some information that can be valuable to the COPD and yoga article, send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!
We’ve also got an exciting COPD Coalition Summit going on in Baltimore, Maryland tomorrow. We’ll write a little something to tell you guys about how the meeting went and what that state’s community is planning to do for its residents affected by COPD.
Till next week . . .