I have been talking about air quality monitors and air purifiers in this blog for a long time. They help us see the air we breathe and mitigate pollution. However, is there a way to measure the impact of pollution on our lungs?
Well yes, thanks to technological advances and spirometry, which measures lung function, doctors can use these data in assessing breathing patterns that identify conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and COPD.
In this review, I am going to present to you the KAMU Spiro. It is a handheld bluetooth device that helps us test our lung function at home with a hospital-grade mobile spirometer.
With a single test, we can get FEV1, FEV1/FEV6, FVC, and PEF values. The spirometry results are saved in KAMU Spiro’s memory until we upload them to our KAMU Asthma app, where we can view them at any time.
What is FEV1, FEV1/FEV6, FVC, and PEF?
- FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume) is the amount of air you can force from your lungs in 1 second.
- FEV6 (Forced Expiratory Volume) is the amount of air you can force from your lungs in 6 seconds and it is claimed to be an excellent screening tool in the diagnosis of airway obstruction.
- FVC (Forced Vital Capacity) is the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from your lungs after taking the deepest breath possible.
- PEF (Peak Expiratory Flow) is a person’s maximum speed of expiration.
Have you ever used a spirometer in a doctor’s office? Well, I have and it is a tragic experience for a couple of reasons. First of all, you cannot determine accurately the status of someone’s lungs just from one test. You need to have past data in order to determine the evolution and progress. Secondly, in order to use a spirometer, you need to practice because you have to take a deep breath, hold it, place the device on your mouth, blow all air out very fast, and continue exhaling for 6 seconds. Believe me, it isn’t easy and your first attempts will fail. If the nurse is not patient enough, you will end up with false results which will lead to a false diagnosis from the doctor.
Here comes the technology and the KAMU Spiro. It helps you keep records of your lungs and medicine (in case you take any). You can easily share this information with your doctor, but it also helps you understand better your progress.
The company has identified that air pollution will affect your lung function for this reason they offer Air Quality information on the Today tab with a 6-hour forecast.
KAMU doesn’t stop there as it allows care professionals to access the data (with user’s explicit consent) through KAMU Cloud, which provides easy to use UI for nurses and doctors. It’s available for smaller clinics as a cloud service and includes HL7 FHIR based interface to big Electronic Health Record systems from players like Epic and Cerner.
I won’t lie to you, my first attempts to measure my lung function failed for the same reason I mentioned earlier. You need to practice and the device guides you as many times as you need until you have a valid measurement. Right now, I can take measurements correctly every time. I keep a great journal in the app along with the spirometry tests that way I can see my progress, with easy to understand graphs.
In case your doctor is not subscribed to the KAMU Cloud service, you can easily share the spirometry tests with your MD as the app detects the best and worst days for you and creates a useful summary PDF for you to share.
This may not be very important for some users, but I really appreciate the ability to log into the app with my Apple ID, that way I know my personal data are safe and secure. Google is also supported.
Extensive exposure to air pollution depletes lungs function. Even if you are not an asthmatic person, I think KAMU Spiro offers a benefit to someone who cares about his/her health. More importantly, next time the doctor asks you to take a spirometry test, you will be able to provide him/her with more information for a correct diagnosis and treatment. For an asthmatic, the app is vital, as measuring the lungs is only one part of the self-care routine. The trend view will show you how your self-care routine and external triggers affect your spirometry results.