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How to Test Your Lung Capacity at Home

Published : Jun 14, 2021 2 mins read Updated On : Sep 16, 2023

How to Test Your Lung Capacity at Home

Testing your lung capacity is of great importance to all those that are undergoing oxygen therapy, experiencing a respiratory disease like Covid-19, asthma or emphysema or wish to evaluate their general lung health. It can help you understand your lung strength and capacity, observe changes over a period of time and know when to seek expert medical care.

How can you test your lung capacity at home?

An easy and inexpensive way of testing your lung capacity at home is by the use of a Peak Flow Meter. It is a handheld equipment that measures the strength of your breath in terms of peak expiratory flow. When you breathe into one end of it, the meter immediately shows the reading on a scale, usually in liters/min.

The Peak Flow Meter can be bought from your local pharmacy, or through an online retailer. You should consult your healthcare provider for recommendations.

How can you perform the test?

Before you begin to measure your peak expiratory flow, remove any kind of food and/or excess saliva from your oral cavity, that could possibly interfere with the efficiency of the test. Also check the peak flow meter for any obstructions or foreign objects, then follow the following steps to efficiently perform the lung function test.

  1. Set the peak flow meter to the zero reading.
  2. Take a deep breath. Stay in the same position and do not move during the test so that the reading is not affected by a change in position.
  3. Place the mouthpiece properly and tightly on your lips.
  4. Breathe out as forcefully as possible, for not more than one second.
  5. Note down the reading seen on the gauge.
  6. Set the peak flow meter back to zero reading before blowing again.
  7. Repeat the above steps for another reading and take two more readings.
  8. Do not calculate an average.
  9. In case of obstruction by cough or anything else, eliminate that reading & record again.
  10. Keep a record of your peak flow rates. Discuss these readings with your physician.

Are your readings normal?

A normal peak flow rate is dependent upon your age, height, gender, etc. You can determine what is normal for you, based on your own peak flow rate over a period of time. Hence, it is essential for you and your physician to discuss what is considered to be normal & healthy for your lungs.
You physician might suggest that there exist 3 zones of measurement:

  1. Green Zone - 80 - 100 % of your usual/normal reading signals all clear.
  2. Yellow Zone – 50 – 80% of your usual/normal reading signals caution.
  3. Red Zone – less than 50% of your usual/normal reading signals Medical Alert.

Consuming the necessary nutrients required for healthy lungs, performing regular breathing exercises, taking all medications and supplements on time and keeping a check on your lung capacity & overall lung health will promote improved lung functioning.
Stay Healthy, Stay Fit!

Vaishnavi Gadi
Vaishnavi Gadi
Women Health & Nutrition

Vaishnavi is passionate about health and nutrition supplements. She takes serious efforts to update her knowledge about health and wellness, especially women health requirements. She writes article... Read More

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