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Lung Exerciser

Lung diseases can cause breathing problems

Many disorders might cause your lungs to cease functioning properly. These are a few of the diseases that can affect your lungs:

  • asthma
  • bronchiectasis
  • emphysema
  • chronic bronchitis.
  • Shortness of breath is one of the most prevalent signs of lung disease, and if breathing becomes problematic, you should consult your doctor. To check and strengthen your lungs to breathe properly, you can do specific exercises or use devices like Spirometers. And you can use Peak Flow metres to check your lung function for further treatment. You will find information about incentive spirometers and Peak Flow metres on this blog.

    Muscles involved in breathing

    As air moves in and out of your lungs, your body absorbs oxygen and emits carbon dioxide. The muscles of your ribcage and your diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that sits beneath your lungs and above your abdomen, are the structures that move air in and out of your lungs.

    Air is transported from your mouth to small structures that resemble hollow sacs through your lungs. Each sac has a network of blood vessels through which oxygen can enter the bloodstream. When oxygen levels fall below a certain threshold, the brain sends signals to the muscles that control your breathing, instructing them to work harder. This means that people who have trouble breathing will have to work harder to get enough oxygen.

    When the lungs are stiff and rigid, the diaphragm has to work harder. People with breathing problems frequently use other muscles to breathe, in addition to the muscles that directly control breathing. These muscles include the muscles of the neck and shoulders. All of this effort can make breathing difficult.

    Specific breathing devices to help you breath well

    If you have a lung condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other healthcare professional before beginning any new breathing exercises.

    Spirometers and Peak Flow meters are used to identify people who have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health and breathing problem.

    Specific breathing exercises and breathing devices can help your condition in the following ways:

    • increasing diaphragm strength
    • allowing more air into the lungs
    • aiding in the removal of deep-seated mucous
    • keeping the lungs and chest wall mobile

    This blog focuses on Lung Exerciser Devices such as spirometers for checking and improving your breathing strength. In addition, as a Lung Function checking device, we will briefly mention the Peak flow meter.

    What Is a Lung Exerciser device?

    Despite the fact that lung exercisers have been around for a long time, their use has been limited to those with lung disorders or in need of specific lung recovery
    As the desire to incorporate these products into one's recreational routine has grown, the
    technology has become more affordable and the design has advanced.
    A lung exerciser, also known as a breath exerciser, is a device that patients use to improve their lung function through practice.

    People who use these products can improve their airway efficiency, strengthen the muscles used to expel (cough) out foreign particulates, and optimise lung capacity by engaging in a variety of exercises.
    These products' designs range from larger and heavier models used in hospitals and clinics for patients requiring more serious treatment to pocket-sized devices that can be incorporated into a daily routine at home.

    How do you Use a Lung Exerciser?

    Each model, like many exercise devices, has slightly different variations. Most lung exercisers advise users to begin with low resistance and breathe from the device for 30 to 90 minutes at a time. Resistance can be increased as the lungs strengthen.
    Users can begin to do more creative exercises that involve repetitive hard exhalations once their lungs have become accustomed to the device and progress can be seen.

    While the design of each model varies, the concept remains the same. Each lung exercise provides varying degrees of airflow resistance, which the user can adjust based on their abilities.
    Some require both inhales and exhales, while others only require one. Some models have pistons that provide a visual reference for resistance, whereas smaller models rely on dials to increase or decrease airflow strength.

    Spirometers are the most popular lung exercisers available today. Spirometer characteristics, types, and applications will be discussed in this section.


    The infectious COVID-19 attacks the upper respiratory system, causing tissue damage and making breathing difficult. As a result, it's critical to do some lung exercises before and after an infection to minimise damage and strengthen your lungs. Breathing exercises can help you breathe better by increasing lung capacity. One of the simplest ways to work on your respiratory organs is to use a spirometer.

    Spirometers are used for two purposes: measuring lung function and exercising the lungs. The incentive spirometer is used for exercise, whereas the peak flow metre spirometer is only used for lung function measurement. We will discuss both the incentive spirometer and the peak flow meter here.

    What is an Incentive Spirometer?

    An incentive spirometer is a portable device that aids in the recovery of your lungs following surgery or illness. Breathing in and out with an incentive spirometer can assist in keeping your lungs active and fluid-free. When you use a spirometer to perform breathing exercises, the balls or piston inside the device rise and measure the volume of your breath. This device is useful for people recovering from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or COVID-19. In the event of an active infection, do not use the device in front of others.


    The indications are as follows:

    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): This term refers to a group of conditions that cause chronic breathing problems. Symptoms of the condition can be reduced by training the lungs with incentive spirometry.
    • Sickle cell disease: This is a kind of red blood cell disorders. Treatment with incentive spirometry may benefit people with sickle cell disease who are experiencing acute pain.
    • COVID-19: Patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 may benefit from incentive spirometers.
    • Cystic fibrosis: This is a hereditary condition that can cause breathing problems. The body produces an abundance of thick, sticky mucus, which can clog the lungs. In people with cystic fibrosis, incentive spirometers may help improve airway clearance.
    • Pre-operative screening of patients at high risk of postoperative complications to establish a baseline of their inspiratory flow and volume.
    • Presence of pulmonary atelectasis
    • Conditions predisposing to atelectasis such as: Abdominal or thoracic surgery, Prolonged bed rest, Surgery in patients with COPD, Presence thoracic or Abdominal binders, and Lack of pain control
    • Patients with a restrictive lung disease associated with a dysfunctional diaphragm or involving respiratory musculature
    • Patients with an inspiratory capacity of less than 2.5 litres
    • Patients with neuromuscular disease or spinal cord injury


    The Contra-indications are:

    • Patients who are unable to use the device properly or who require constant supervision
    • Patients who are very young or children with developmental delays
    • Hyperventilation
    • Hypoxaemia secondary to interruption of oxygen therapy
    • Fatigue
    • Patients who are unable to effectively take deep breaths due to pain, diaphragmatic dysfunction, or opiate analgesia.
    • Severely sedated or comatose patients
    • The device is not appropriate for people who have severe dyspnea.


    When using the spirometer, certain precautions must be taken:

    • The technique should not be used as the sole treatment for major lung collapse or consolidation.
    • Improper technique may result in hyperventilation.
    • In emphysematous lungs, there is a risk of barotrauma.
    • Discomfort may occur as a result of uncontrolled pain.
    • In susceptible patients, bronchospasm may develop. Patients with hyperreactive airways should be closely monitored.

    Benefits and risks of Spirometers

    The following are some of the advantages of using an incentive spirometer:

    • increased lung function
    • decreased risk of pulmonary complications such as pneumonia, atelectasis, and lung infections
    • increased oxygen saturation
    • cost-effectiveness

    The following risks may be associated with the use of an incentive spirometer:

    • improper use if not trained correctly
    • hyperventilation
    • pain
    • fatigue

    If a person encounters any of the issues listed above while using an incentive spirometer, they should consult their doctor.

    Before Using a Spirometer consider the following points.

    The following are some considerations to keep in mind when using a spirometer.

    • Try to relax before using the spirometer. Before using a spirometer, try to relax and stabilise your breathing. If you are already feeling uneasy or out of breath, using a spirometer may aggravate your condition. You will also be unable to complete the exercise correctly.
    • Holding breath. Breathe in and out completely to get the most out of your spirometer. Closing the vocal cords and holding your breath while using a spirometer can result in inaccurate results and a loss of benefit from your exercise session. Simply relax and push yourself as far as you can.
    • Sit correctly. When using a spirometer, it is critical to sit up straight with your back straight. Our lungs are made up of delicate soft tissues. When you sit incorrectly, your lungs struggle to breathe to their full capacity. To do so, keep your shoulders straight and your spine erect.
    • Use the spirometer correctly. Most people believe that a spirometer is only used for exhaling. It can, however, be used for both inhaling and exhaling. Exhale by holding it straight, then inhale by turning it upside down.

    How to Use a Spirometer?

    • Sit up straight if possible. Sitting on the edge of a chair or your bed may help.
    • Maintain the incentive spirometer in an upright position.
    • Exhale, then insert the mouthpiece into your mouth. Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece and inhale slowly and deeply through your mouth.
    • The piston in the incentive spirometer will rise as you take a deep breath. Slowly inhale to allow the air sacs in your lungs to open. The incentive spirometer has an indicator that tells you if you're inhaling too quickly.
    • After inhaling as deeply as possible, hold your breath for 3 to 5 seconds. Set the goal indicator tab to the level you achieved.
    • Remove the mouthpiece and exhale slowly. Relax and breathe normally for a few seconds until the piston returns to the chamber's bottom.
    • Repeat these steps 10 times per hour, or as directed by your doctor. Slow down your breathing and give yourself more time between deep breaths if you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
    • After you've completed the ten deep breathing exercises, take a deep breath and cough to clear the mucus from your lungs. Support your incision if you had surgery on your chest or stomach by pressing a pillow or folded blanket firmly against it. This will provide support and reduce the amount of pain you feel when coughing.

    Stop exercising and rest if you feel lightheaded or dizzy while using a spirometer. Do not exceed 10-12 repetitions as this can cause shortness of breath.

    How to Maintain a Spirometer

    Clean the mouthpiece of your spirometer with warm water and soap after each use. A disposable mouthpiece should not be reused for more than 24 hours.

    How long and how frequently should an incentive spirometer be used?

    The length of time a person needs to use an incentive spirometer depends on their condition. A medical professional will usually advise a person on how long and how frequently they should use the device.

    In some cases, a doctor may recommend that a person repeat the incentive spirometry exercise 10 times as a single set and once an hour while awake.

    How Spirometer measures results?

    When a person uses an incentive spirometer, the device's indicator and piston both rise.

    The indicator measures how consistently a person inhales. They will not fully expand their lungs if they breathe in too quickly or too slowly. The piston represents the maximum volume of a person's breath, or how deep it is. A higher value indicates that the lungs are working properly.

    Some models may include a movable marker on the device's side. This can aid in visually establishing a marker for how high the piston should be pushed.

    In this section, we will discuss another type of Spirometer that can only be used to measure lung function, which is a Peak Flow meter.

    A spirometer and a peak flow meter can both be used to check how well your lungs are working. However, it is important to note that, while both are useful tools in the diagnosis and management of respiratory problems, they are used in different ways and serve different functions.

    What is a Peak Flow Meter?

    A peak flow metre is a small, simple instrument that evaluates how efficiently your lungs can release air. The peak flow meter measures the force of air in litres per minute and gives you a measurement on a built-in numbered scale by blowing a short blast of air through a mouthpiece on one end. If you have asthma, your doctor may suggest that you use a peak flow metre to track how well you're controlling your symptoms.

    A peak flow meter can help you keep track of your asthma symptoms by identifying airway narrowing even before you have any symptoms, allowing you time to modify your medication or take other steps before your symptoms worsen. Adults and children as young as 5 can benefit from a peak flow meter.

    Uses of a peak Flow meter

    You can use a peak flow meter to track changes in your breathing from day to day. A peak flow metre can assist you in the following ways:

    • Show how well your therapy is working
    • Recognize signals of a flare-up before symptoms arise
    • Track the control of your asthma over time
    • Know what to do if you see symptoms of an asthma attack.
    • Make a decision about when to call your doctor or seek emergency help.

    How to use your peak flow meter?

    Here's how to use a peak flow meter correctly:

    • Connect the mouthpiece to the peak flow metre and move the marker to the bottom of the numbered scale.
    • If you're able, stand up.
    • Take a deep inhale, thoroughly filling your lungs.
    • Tighten your lips around the mouthpiece. With a single breath, blow as forcefully and as rapidly as you can.
    • Take note of the marker's ultimate position. This is your maximum rate of flow.
    • After you've completed the instructions above, blow into the peak flow meter twice more. Take the highest of the three readings.
    • Make sure you know how to use your peak flow meter correctly to get accurate readings. Request that your doctor observe you using it. It is also critical to maintain the cleanliness of your peak flow meter. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to keep your peak flow metre clean. Most peak flow metres need to be cleaned once a week with warm water and a mild detergent.

    To Sum Up...

    Lung function can be measured with both incentive spirometers and Peak Flow metres, but incentive spirometers can also be used to exercise your lungs. An incentive spirometer can help you enhance your lung strength while also evaluating your lung function.