Test your lungs know your numbers
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Save Your Breath, America!

Prevent Emphysema Now!

Introduction-Save Your Breath America!

What is COPD?


Early Detection


Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)
Dry Powder Discus

New Developments

The Future

Additional Reading / Web Sites

The New Era / Sponsors


Early Detection

Early discovery of a breathing problem and appropriate treatment can prevent the disease from progressing to the point that it seriously affects the way you live and work.

Anyone who has an ongoing cough or shortness of breath, even if it seems minor, should see his or her doctor. Morning cough, for example, is not normal. It is usually a result of smoking and indicates that there is irritation and swelling within the lung. Shortness of breath while exercising, climbing stairs, or walking can also be a sign of a breathing problem. Many people simply feel that they are “out of shape”, slowing down, or getting older when, in fact, they are working harder to breathe.

Breathing Tests

man holding spirometer to this mouthA spirometer can tell whether your breathing is normal. It takes only a couple of minutes to blow into this machine, which can detect a change in your breathing ability even before you do. Fortunately, many physicians
have a spirometer in their offices. The next time you see a doctor, ask for a spirometry test (lung function test), if you think you might have COPD or asthma.

Remember, when you take a spirometry test, no needles are involved. You don’t have to take off your clothes. This test is not painful and will not cause you any discomfort. All you have to do is fill your lungs completely, pause, and then blow out all the air you can in six seconds. This test will give two numbers for you and your doctor to understand together. The first number is the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). This is the total amount of air you blow out in the first second. The total amount of air you blow out in six seconds is called the FEV6. Most people can blow all or most of the air out of their lungs in six seconds.

“Test Your Lungs, Know Your Numbers" is the motto of the NLHEP. Most people know their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and can tell if these numbers get higher or lower. You also should record your spirometry test results for future comparisons. Spirometry will help you determine if you do have or don’t have any amount of airflow problems. If you have any abnormal airflow, this could mean that you’re on the pathway to developing emphysema or related chronic bronchitis. Prevent emphysema now, and you will not have to face it later. Breathing tests should be done on anyone who may be at risk for developing COPD, such as those who smoke or who have family members with one of these diseases. Use this checklist to help you decide if you should see your doctor about having a breathing test.

  1. Does asthmatic bronchitis, chronic bronchitis,
    or emphysema run in your family?
  2. Do you or have you ever smoked?
  3. Are you short of breath more often thanother people?
  4. Do you cough?
  5. If you cough, do you cough up yellow or green mucus?
  6. Are you exposed to someone else’s smoke?

    If the answer to any of the above qu yes, you should see your doctor for a breathing test.

    After taking the test, you can ask your doctor these questions:

  7. Are my breathing measurements abnormal?
  8. How abnormal are they?
  9. Is the problem one that can be treated with drugs and/or by stopping smoking?
  10. Is the abnormality worsening? 11. What exactly should I do for my problem?

Even if your airflow is normal on the test, you are at a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer or having a heart attack or stroke if you continue to smoke.