Celebrate Lung Health Day and Respiratory Care Week with life-saving test at hospital

The week of October 24-30 marks National Respiratory Week and Tammie Wilson, a registered respiratory therapist with Cumberland River Hospital, has tips on a simple test that can diagnose lung problems in their earliest and most treatable stages.

“Spirometry is a simple breathing test that measures airflow through the lungs,” Wilson said.  “Test your lungs and know your numbers.”

She said spirometry can be performed quickly and easily, while requiring the patient to take a deep breath, then blow out through a mouthpiece as fast and hard as possible for six seconds, followed by another deep breath.

The test measures the airflow through the lungs.  Abnormal results mean air is not getting through as well as it should and could indicate the presence of lung disease.

Abnormal spirometry is more likely in people who smoke than people who don’t.  Quitting smoking is vital for anyone with abnormal results.

Medications aimed at decreasing swelling and wheezing may also benefit people with abnormal spirometry.

The theme this year is “Inspire – It’s What Respiratory Therapists Do!”  Although it has been an annual local and regional event for several years, National Respiratory Therapy Week officially became a national event in 1982.

Each year this is a celebration in honor of respiratory care practitioners who are making an important contribution to the delivery of quality health care in the nation.

This national event has continually grown to reach all 50 states in the U.S. and beyond.  In 2003, lung health awareness was taken a step further with the establishment of Lung Health Day, celebrated during Respiratory Care Week.

This day is a major public awareness campaign with the purpose of promoting the importance of lung health and build awareness about diseases and conditions that adversely affect healthy lungs.

Today, RC Week and Lung Health Day are delivering a powerful message to medical professionals and consumers around the world.

Respiratory therapists are licensed health care professionals specially educated in respiratory health care.  They assist physicians by providing diagnostic, treatment and management services to persons with respiratory diseases.