A Test for Your Lungs

21 September, 2012

You can do this easy test in just a minute to find out how healthy your lungs are:

Briskly run up two flights of stairs or walk 6 blocks without stopping. That's it. If you can do either one without pausing to rest, your lungs are probably in pretty good shape. If you don't pass, see your healthcare provider for a checkup. (If you have a medical condition, don't do the test without clearing it with your doc first.

One of the major warnings of decreased lung function is a sharp change in your ability to complete the test, from being able to walk the blocks or run up the stairs easily to suddenly having a lot of trouble. The reason? When you exercise over a compact period of time, shortness of breath means all your organs feel deprived of oyxgen, and that some of them might not be getting enough.

A lack of air can mean many things, so see your healthcare provider to diagnose the cause. It may just mean you are totally out of shape. It also could be a problem that doesn't start and stop with your lungs. If your heart isn't working properly, it can't pump blood forward, meaning that some blood can back up into your lungs -- making tissues soggy when they should be dry and fluffy instead. And that means they can no longer exchange air. In many cases, when you feel shortness of breath, the solution is to find out and address what's wrong with the heart so it can help with moving blood out of the lungs properly.


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