Peak Lung Function: How to Check if You Have It, and How to Get It
Your lung function is the most critical factor for making sure oxygen gets to every cell in your body, which keeps your cells operating at their best. It also makes sure carbon dioxide leaves the body, which limits cell death. Taken all together, reduced lung capacity can seriously affect the health of your whole body. Simple enough, but here’s the tricky part: decreased lung function can sneak up on you. You can actually grow accustomed to living with lower lung capacity and not feeling your best.
To help you reach your peak lung function, here are some tips that might help you identify reduced lung capacity, and determine how to fix the problem.
Signs and Symptoms
Fortunately, the indicators of poor lung performance are pretty obvious. Coughing, especially unexplained, long-term coughing, is one of the most common indications that your lungs are not working at peak performance. Other respiratory signs include shortness of breath, particularly if you’re waking up at night, or even when outside in cold weather. Wheezing or chest tightness, usually after exercise, is an especially telling sign—decreased lung capacity can even hurt your athletic or workout performance.
Finding the Culprit
One of the most helpful steps in improving your lung function is to identify the cause and avoid it. Triggers of reduced lung function can include allergens like pollen, mold, pet dander and dust. But other irritants can be the cause as well: insect droppings, smoking and second-hand smoke, cold or dry air and even air impurities like scented candles and fireplace smoke. Health conditions can be a driver as well: viral or bacterial infections and acid reflux, for example. Recurrent infections, or more than three ear, sinus, throat or respiratory infections per year, are a key symptom that you should get checked for.
A Simplified Solution
Whew! This list of possible threats to your lung function can be difficult to sort out. So, once you determine the problem, what can you do to improve your lung function IQ? Follow these four steps:
- Establish baseline lung function data
- Get help with evaluating your environment to identify possible triggers
- Establish a treatment plan that may be as simple as learning how to avoid your triggers
- Periodically monitor your lung function to make sure your plan is effective
The most important step? Seek help from an expert. Allergists are specially trained in assessing lung function and identifying the causes such as allergens and recurrent infections that can reduce lung capacity. The board-certified allergists of Allergy & Asthma Specialists have state of the art, computerized and comprehensive lung function equipment available at all eight locations to quantify your baseline lung capacity. This data will assist in monitoring the effectiveness of your personal treatment plan and improving your lung function, so you can finally breathe easy.
Ready to reach your peak performance? Schedule an appointment at an Allergy & Asthma Specialists location near you by calling 1-800-86COUGH, extension 2 or visit their website today. Offices are located in Center City Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Blue Bell, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Collegeville and Pottstown.This is a paid partnership between Allergy & Asthma Specialists ℠ and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio