Tests to measure your breathing
What are they?
Breathing tests measure how well your lungs are working. These tests are used to find the cause of problems such as feeling out of breath. They are sometimes called lung function tests. They measure things like:
- how much air you can take into your lungs
- how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs
- how well your lungs can take up oxygen
- the strength of your breathing muscles
Your results are compared to what they should be, using predicted values. These values are based on what would be expected in healthy people of your age, height, gender and ethnicity.
Your body mass index or BMI
Your health care professional may also weigh you to calculate your body mass index (BMI) as a way of measuring whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.
Your BMI is not relevant for predicted values of breathing test results. But it is important because being overweight or underweight can affect your breathing, lung function and general health. Being overweight can cause breathlessness.
Your health care professional will also compare your results with the results of any earlier tests to track your progress.