Many lung diseases can be identified early with lung function testing, but the only way to know if you’re at risk is to take a lung function test. Lung capacity is usually measured as how much air someone can inhale and exhale in one breath, and lung disease patients will often have reduced lung capacities.
But did you know that lung capacity can also be tested at home? This article discusses how to perform a simple breathing technique so you can measure your lung capacity without having to go into the doctor’s office!
Simply put, you can easily test your lung capacity at home using an OPEP device such as AirPhysio. AirPhysio lets you check lung function at home by measuring lung capacity and airway resistance. And if you don’t have an AirPhysio, you can simply use a balloon and a water-filled container with measurement marks.
What Is Lung Capacity?
The lung capacity test is an important element of the lung function test we often hear about. It is the measurement of the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled or exhaled after taking a full breath (inhaling all you possibly can).
The most common way for doctors to measure lung capacity is through spirometry or an OPEP device such as AirPhysio, which measures the amount of air you breathe out after taking a deep breath. There are several lung function tests doctors can perform depending on the lung capacity one is trying to measure.
For example, there’s vital lung capacity that determines how much air people have in their lungs when they take a big breath and then let it all go, it usually measures around five liters of air, which is about the size of a pop can.
Then there’s lung volume that determines how much air remains in your lungs after you exhale—this lung capacity usually measures between three and four liters.
Why Is It Important To Test Lung Capacity?
Lung capacity is the landmark of diagnosing lung diseases. According to the American Lung Association, lung disease is the third leading cause of death in America today. About 12 million people have lung diseases that are not even diagnosed yet!
So it’s important to test lung capacity because it can help detect lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer at an early stage where they are most treatable. It may decline as we age, but it would decline even faster if there’s lung disease present!
Lung capacity also helps determine the severity of lung diseases and whether or not people will need oxygen therapy in order to live a healthy life. Another reason lung capacity testing is important is that it helps doctors determine lung transplants or lung surgeries.
When you have a remarkably low lung capacity, it means you have lung disease. If you’re a smoker, your lung capacity is going to be low in the first place because of all the toxins and pollutants that accumulate over time from smoking cigarettes, cigars, and other lung irritants.
How To Test Lung Capacity Test At Home
The lung capacity test is performed by taking a deep breath of fresh air and then exhaling as hard and quickly as possible. Once you’ve done this, measure how much air you expelled from your lungs in one breath (in liters). This will be your lung capacity.
For this process, you’ll have to go to the doctor’s office because they’ll be measuring lung capacity with an OPEP device like AirPhysio or Spirometer, which is most accurate for testing lung function. A Spirometer requires a certain skill set to operate and it’s expensive too! So getting an AirPhysio device would be perfect for this job.
But you can still measure lung capacity at home by yourself! While taking a lung capacity test in the doctor’s office isn’t exactly difficult, there are ways to do this even when we’re alone without help from anyone else.
To test your lung capacity at home, all you need to do is take a deep breath of fresh air and then exhale as hard and quickly as you can.
Once you’ve done that, measure the lung capacity by measuring how much air (in liters) is expelled from your lungs in one breath. To measure the air, you can use a balloon and a water container is filled to the brim to get an accurate result.
To get an even more accurate result at home, make sure no other objects are around like chairs or desks. Because they might obstruct the process and give you a false lung capacity result.
Tips For Increasing Lung Capacity
According to lung specialist Dr. Andrew Weil from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, lung capacity can be increased by doing the following:
– Get regular exercise like running or swimming to expand lung capacity
Perform breathing exercises regularly using a breathing exerciser like AirPhysio, which has been proven to be effective to reduce any breathing issues. This device is also helpful for people with lung diseases since it can assist them in breathing more easily and naturally.
Deep breathing is another way to increase lung capacity by stimulating the lung muscles that are responsible for expanding and contracting your lungs so you have maximum lung function during exercise or physical activities.
This also helps strengthen our diaphragm, which gives us more lung capacity. Here’s a quick breathing exercise routine that is easy to follow—
Breathe through the nose instead of the mouth as it’s more effective for breathing and expanding lung capacity
Quit smoking! Exhalation is an important factor in measuring lung function because if you smoke, your lung capacity is naturally going to be low. Stop smoking and you could actually double or even triple lung function!
Eat more vegetables because they are packed with vitamins which help improve lung function
Use herbs like garlic cloves, thyme leaves, rosemary leaves, lavender flowers/leaves that have antioxidant properties for improved lung function
Do regular lung capacity testing to help determine lung disease that needs proper treatment (e.g asthma) before it becomes too serious and complications happen like lung cancer, COPD, or other types of pneumonia that require hospitalization!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
As we mentioned earlier, lung capacity is indeed something you should always monitor. So here we are answering some common questions to help you measure your lung capacity more accurately—
How do I know if my lung capacity is low?
You can tell you have a low lung capacity when you can’t take a deep breath, or you feel difficulty in breathing. Or you can simply use AirPhysio for more accurate measurement.
Does holding breath increase lung capacity?
Holding breath is actually a really great exercise for increasing lung capacity. You can practice this several times a day, which will improve your overall lung function.
What is good lung capacity?
According to Benjamin J. Delgado, the total lung capacity of a healthy adult should be around 6 liters, depending on age, gender, ethnicity and body composition. In case of older individuals, the normal lung capacity is a little lower since decreased lung elasticity.
How can I make my lungs strong?
You can make both of your lungs strong by following several types of breathing exercises and eating a lot of antioxidant-containing foods.
How can I raise my oxygen level quickly?
You can instantly raise your blood oxygen level by lying in a prone position (Proning) or by taking antioxidants which increase the oxygen binding capacity of hemoglobin.
In a nutshell, lung capacity is important when it comes to physical activities. It helps you breathe in more oxygen for better endurance and lung function so that your workout or sports performance can be improved by leaps and bounds! So, don’t hesitate to take a lung capacity test at home the next time you want to assess your overall lung health. Happy breathing!
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