Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the respiratory system and digestive organs. Spirometry is a useful tool in keeping those with cystic fibrosis well informed of their lung health.
Spirometry and Cystic Fibrosis
A spirometry exam measures the amount of air a person expels. You take a spirometry exam by first breathing into a tube. The device then measures how fast you expelled the air and assigns you an “FEV1” score. This test is helpful to those with cystic fibrosis for several reasons.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is diagnosed using several different tests. Usually, doctors order x-rays to view the lungs and a sweat test to measure the amount of salt on the skin. After completing these tests, the next step is to use spirometry to check the function of the lungs. The results of how much air you expel breaks up into four categories: normal, obstructive, restrictive, or a combination of obstructive/restrictive. However, those with CF will have trouble expelling all their air in the first second of the spirometry test. This is because of the thick and sticky mucus in the lungs and/or because of scarring on the lungs. People with CF usually show a combination of obstructive/restrictive.
This is the information that a doctor needs to diagnose cystic fibrosis. A quick diagnosis helps you quickly receive a needed treatment plan.
Because of spirometry’s unique ability to read the function of the lungs, it gives clear indications when something is not quite right in the respiratory system. People with cystic fibrosis are at high risk of developing infections in their lungs. Spirometry provides an excellent source to help catch these infections early on. Since lung infections pose serious complications for those with CF, spirometry helps prevent these issues.
Regular spirometry measurements help you and your doctor determine how well your CF treatments are working. This information helps your doctor tweak your personal care plan. Your personal care plan helps improve your quality of life, so spirometry is an essential component in this matter.
A clinical trial studies new treatments and tests. Experts administer these new treatments to find out how they help those with a particular disease. According to the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, CF clinical trials have spirometry equipment available to help determine how well the trials are working in CF patients.
Clinical trials have also been conducted on home spirometry. This study was led by Noah Lechtzin, MD, MHS, and Christopher Hooper Goss, MD, MS, FCCP. Their goal was to show how home spirometry helps prevent infections and helps maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Why You Should Use A Spirometry Test At Home
If you or a loved one has cystic fibrosis, at home spirometry is a great tool in your CF management.
1. Early Detection
By using spirometry at home on a regular basis, it helps you establish what normal lung function looks like for you. When these readings are abnormal this could be an indication that something is wrong. Detecting infection as early as possible helps stop serious complications and even costly hospital stays.
2. Better Management
By seeing your regular spirometry readings, you can see how well your personal care plan works for you. Thus allowing you to see how well your treatments work for you.
3. Detailed Information
Regular spirometry readings are great information to share with your doctor. This information gives your doctor a window into your daily lung function. Therefore helping them determine how well medications and your personal care plan are working. These spirometry readings provide essential information for your doctor to make better decisions regarding your care.
4. Encouragement To Keep Going
Spirometry exams definitely benefit your treatment plan, but it can also do something else. These regular readings help you to better understand yourself and your cystic fibrosis. Although CF provides challenges, you can take control of your CF with a better understanding of your body. This motivation pushes you forward to continue your daily treatment regimen. Spirometry can help you live a better more controlled life.