Why do FEV1 numbers fall?

WHY. Six months ago I had my pulmonary testing done, and my FEV1 was 45%. This time when I was tested by same doctor my FEV1 was 37%. It was the same with all the other lung function testing; all the test results were lower than six months ago. I have not smoked in over a year. I walk at least twice a day. I have never missed the medicine I am told to take. I use my oxygen most all the time as I’ve been told to do. I do breathing exercise, lifting exercise for upper body strength for breathing muscles. I eat low-sodium foods. I’m always saying, “I can’t eat that,” or “I can’t go there.” I’m not a couch potato. I get out. I love my walks. I never push myself too hard. wouldn’t want to do anything to make myself worse. So I’m wondering WHY? I thought the numbers would at least stay the same… I’m a little depressed about this. I have been in self-pity for two days now, and figure why bother with the exercise and diet. I guess I will give myself one more day to wallow in my self-pity then I will began again, because It’s human nature to try to survive. Has anyone else had this happen to them? Your test results showing the numbers dropping?

20 Replies

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  • That is very discouraging and I can see exactly how you feel. It seems a very poor reward for doing everything you can to maintain good health. Could therw possibly have been a reason ? Maybe you had a slight infection or something ? We all suffer from declining lubg function but that amount in such a short time does seem excessive.

  • Hi , I can understand how u feel, but there can be lots of reasons they fall, infection brewing, the weather 6 months ago was fine and dry now it's cold and damp, deteriation as we get older, maybe u could ask to have it done again just to put ur mind at ease, then if it doesn't improve speak with ur gp / nurse what else u can do to slow it down or improve it, plus how do u feel if u feel ok and no worse then try not to let numbers rule it's how u feel aswel. Take care Sonia x

  • I think I know exactly how you feel. My Fev1 was 52% last year at my pft, this year it's 33%. I knew my breathing was getting worse, but wasn't prepared for how bad my results would be. Like you I'd done all the right things including pulmonary rehab. The GP and pulmonary nurse don't know what's going on, but they did an ECG then and there! Results of that were normal. Now waiting to see a consultant as it seems there may be something else going on. I just carry on doing what I can to keep as fit and healthy as possible, but waiting for that appt. is frustrating. It's been over 2 months now and apparently I was requested an 'urgent' appt. I had a letter saying I would be notified when I was 6 weeks from the top of the waiting list, so I know I won't be seen before the New Year. Do you have a peak flow meter? If so, maybe you should start recording your results on a daily basis. Some on here will say 'they're only numbers' but maybe you'll see that rising which would lift your spirits and if they drop, you should go back to your GP and ask for a second opinion. Maybe we've both taken a hit and will be stable now for a long time to come - one thing's for sure, no two sufferers are exactly the same.

  • I presume you are from the UK? It has been nice and dry 6 months ago and pretty rotten now. I know it has hit me more this last week.

  • RM I understand how you feel...BUT you are doing everything right...exercise will help you...eating healthily will help you...not smoking WILL help you

    Just keep up the good work...and you will stop the decline in your lung condition....

    If you only have one FEV result to compare this latest result against, then one of them may not have been a true result.....the only thing that matters here as far as you are concerned is that you are showing a positive attitude to your condition, doing ALL you can to arrest the decline...and you will be OK of that I am sure

    Have you been on a PR course yet?

    One little thing that struck me about you post..is where you said 'I love my walks I never push myself too hard' I actually think its good now and again to push yourself hard......get out of breath....it wont do you any harm and it is actually good for your lungs to breath a bit heavily for a short time so as to clear them of all the gunk down there...

    Giving up smoking was the very best thing you have done for your lung health....I hope your next FEV are better....but I doubt they will be much worse than they are now...if your doctor is worried about things then he will refer you to a consultant

    Love Sohara

  • Hi rmfields, I actually had a change in my pf readings. The first time I went to this docter, my fev was 35%. The next time I went, they used a different machine for my test, and it was 30%. The dr. Put me on tudorza pressair, and the next time I took the test in August i asked to take it on the sme machine I had on the first test. My reading was 44%.

    I was told that sometimes different machines can give slightly different readings, but I know that the tudorza has really improved my breathing.

    I know that some days are worse than others. I have a peak flow meter, and I can see lower readings on some days. Haven't quite figured it out why this happens.

    I wish you the best of luck. Take your meds, make sure you get exerscise, and try to stay positive. I believe pulmonary therapy is a wonderful tool. I would definitely recommend it.

    Stay well, and try not to worry. Sometimes worrying can make your breathing worse, so try to stay relaxed.

    Hugs, barbara

  • Hello barbara your reply was very interesting and I am worried myself about a second lung function test which I am due to take in January, following my second CT scan whichI had last week, for which I am still awaiting results. It is all worry time for me too.

    Can you tell me what a turdorza pressair is and where I could get this and also a 'peak flow meter'? That would be helpful to know.

    Thanks

    xx stillmovin

  • You can get the peak flow at. Drug stores, or Amazon.com.

    As for the tudorza pressair, that is a prescription drug. I use it instead of spiriva. If you live in England, I think they call it under a different name.the ingredient is acidinium bromide.

    I know its hard, but try not to worry. Sometimes that can make things worse. Try and think positive thoughts.

    I wish you good luck on your test result.

    Barbara

  • You can get the peak flow at. Drug stores, or Amazon.com.

    As for the tudorza pressair, that is a prescription drug. I use it instead of spiriva. If you live in England, I think they call it under a different name.the ingredient is acidinium bromide.

    I know its hard, but try not to worry. Sometimes that can make things worse. Try and think positive thoughts.

    I wish you good luck on your test result.

    Barbara

  • I can't help you with the tudorza but peak flow and even devices that measure FEV1 can be bought at most pharmacies or places like Amazon.

  • We often discuss walking and the importance of walking but also discuss the six minute walk test and I just wondered if someone knows of a chart that would say what a person's six minute walk test should be? We have predicted numbers for seemingly everything else so wondered if there are reference or predicted figures for the six minute walk test?

    Thank you.

  • What is the 6 minute walk test?

  • It is a test where they have you walk for six minutes and while doing so they monitor you heart rate and O2 sats and when completed the measure the distance you were able to walk in that time. It is often used before pulmonary rehab to access your fitness level as well as whether you may required oxygen if you are not already on oxygen. Your O2 sats generally drop when you exercise but if they drop too low you will need oxygen and this test helps them assess that.

  • Thank you jackdup, very interesting.

  • FEV1 can change from day to day. Mine is usually about 24 to 26 %. A few days ago I had a check up with my pulmonary nurse and it was 17%. I have my own meter and checked my FEV1 two days later. It was 24%. Having a test every 6 months may catch you at a low ebb so it may look worse than it really is. I'm not saying that is the case here but it's worth keeping it in mind.

  • Two years ago I went for my PFT and tried so hard to get out of it. I was congested and anxious from that, and my results were better than the year before...go figure. I am curious why my numbers have basically stayed the same for 5 years yet my breathing seems worse. Any thoughts?

  • That's so true puffthemagicdragon

    Actually today is not a good day for me, so I'd imagine if I were to take a pulmonary function test, my readings would be less than my last one. Good point you made.

  • That's so true puffthemagicdragon

    Actually today is not a good day for me, so I'd imagine if I were to take a pulmonary function test, my readings would be less than my last one. Good point you made.

  • Hi I do know that FEV1 results can vary by a few points every time you are tested. So I shouldn't read too much into that. Getting a peak and flow meter is a good idea. x

  • Yep warm summers day, test in early afternoon on an empty stomach= big difference to cold, damp, winter day early test and full English with beans.. :) Larff yes, but absolutely true, WILL make a significant difference.

    Try your peak flow meter after a big Sunday lunch with cabbage and/or sprouts and a pud & see how you do. 20%less?

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