Testing lung capacity key to Illinois specialists identifying cause of asthma symptoms
If you have maintained the same fitness regimen, but your athletic performance has suffered with more birthdays, reduced lung capacity may be to blame. As you get older elastic tissues deteriorate and arthritic changes to the rib cage reduce the lungs’ ability to inflate and deflate, and efficiently move air in and out of the lungs.
However, you can develop asthma, which affects how the lungs function, at any age. Some people find asthma subsides as they reach adulthood. Many find asthma returns in adulthood. Still others experience asthma symptoms for the first time as an older person.
How asthma takes its toll
Asthma generally affects the lungs by inflaming the airways, the tubes that move the air you breathe in and out of the lungs. This swelling and redness can make the airways sensitive to everyday substances in the environment such as cool temperatures, animal dander, and dust. It’s no coincidence that, in turn, allergic asthma triggered by environmental allergens is the most common type of asthma.
As you breathe in the triggers, already inflamed airways produce extra mucus and become even more swollen. This excessive swelling can make it even more difficult for the air to move in and out of the lungs. The muscles that wrap around the airways make breathing even more difficult as they tighten.
Measuring how the lungs function
The specialists at Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois can actually measure how the air moves in and out of the lungs. The “gold standard” in lung function testing commonly used to diagnose asthma is known as “spirometry.”
The test is fast and easy. Drs. Noga Askenazi and Eugenia Hahn will ask you to breathe into a tube. They will prompt you to breathe in different ways; how you breathe is then measured and analyzed by the spirometer machine connected to the tube. As it relates to lung capacity, the test measures:
- The maximum amount of air that fills the lungs
- The total amount of air that can be exhaled after fully inhaling
- The maximum amount of air that can be inhaled
- The amount of air left in the lungs after exhaling normally.
Drs. Askenazi and Hahn use such data to make an accurate diagnosis. This diagnosis is important to guide proper, effective treatment. The test may also be used to determine how well current treatments are working. For more information about how testing lung capacity can bring you one step closer to an answer to your troublesome symptoms in Illinois, call 847 888 8802.