Having not been to my Cystic Fibrosis doctors since last September, I recently realized that I was overdue for my 'quarterly' lung check-up at National Jewish. I went into yesterday's appointment highly optimistic that I'd see improvement from the 85% FEV1 I registered last fall.
For those of you not very familiar with the disease, it's not so much the overall lung capacity that suffers with CF patients, as much as our ability to get air in and out... especially out. The FEV1 is a test of the total volume you're able to expel in the first second after fully inhaling. As our airways get more and more filled with infected mucus and scarring, it takes longer and longer to get air moving in or out. After a pulmonary function test [PFT], all the percentages given refer to how we compare to the predicted performance of a completely healthy individual of our same age, weight, and gender. FEV1 is the most critical of all the numbers checked.
Needless to say, the increased running effort and perceived increase in my fitness wasn't all psychological.
Yesterday's PFT showed my FEV1 at 89%, which is 4% higher than September of 2010, but still 4% low from my peak in August of 2009.
Looks like I need to hit it even harder now and get that additional 11%!