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Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's amazing the improvement

I was bored last night when I worked, so I did a pulmonary function test on myself. Just as I remember, it was very exhausting. I wanted to do a pre and post, but I couldn't do it. Even after six puffs on my Albuterol inhaler there was a tickle in my lungs that made me unable to do anything further.

I can't remember the exact numbers, but my FEV1 was 80-100% of my predicted. That's pretty darn good considering an RT once told my after a PFT I did back in 1984 that my lung function was only 30%.

I've read my medical records over and over, and I never spent much time looking at my PFT results. So I set the mouthpiece down and grabbed a folder from my locker. If there are three RTs in the world who keep their medical records in their work locker, I'm one of them. Maybe I'm the only one.

So I flitted through the pages until I came to the stack of PFT results. t was true. In 1984 my FEV1 was 32%. In January 1985 I was a patient at National Jewish. On January 16 my FEV1 was 50%. On January 26 my FEV1 was 80%, and that was after being on inhaled and systemic steroids for two weeks.

So I think it's obvious that the inflammation in my lungs is pretty bad off steroids, and can be controlled with steroids. Even the little bit of steroids Advair provides seems to be enough to remarkably improve my lung function.

Of course, the fact that the air passages in my lungs are larger than when I was a kid may also play a factor here. And I imagine I'm better able to avoid my asthma triggers too. Yet I still think the steroids is a major player here. Although with asthma you never know for sure.

Another thing about asthma is it can play games with you too. I know there have been long streaks where my asthma was relatively behaved in the past, only to creep up on me unexpectedly. That's why it's always a good idea never to take it for granted.

Still, it's amazing to me how much my lung function has improved since I was younger. It makes me appreciate the wonders of modern medicine that allow me to live a relatively normal life. I can't even imagine I would have much quality of life if it weren't for medicines like Advair. In fact, I might have died of suffocation years ago.


Steve said...

Way to go Rick..That's awesome!
Keep doing what you're doing!

kerri said...

This is really cool about how huge of an impact the steroids have on your lungs--awesome!