Health Tips for Seniors

Examining the Lungs

Examination of the Lungs

1. Inhale and exhale normally while at rest. Normal painless breathing varies between sixteen to twenty breaths per minute. Excessively rapid breathing may be due to a body fever or lung disease, while painful breathing is usually the pain of pleurisy.

Fig. 46. Like tree roots, the air way from the throat branches into the spongy lung tissue. Millions of tiny air balloons on its branches are thus connected to the outside; lung expansion sucks in fresh air and contraction forces out exhaust air. The cycle is completed about 20 times per minute for effective respiration. An adult’s deepest breath generally has a volume exceeding one gallon of air.

2. Place a palm on each side of the chest, breathe deeply several times. No vibrating or rasping sensation should be felt, no wheezing or gurgling sound should be heard. Detection of such abnormalities may indicate asthma or bronchitis.

3. After breathing deeply several times, exhale completely and then cough until some sputum is obtained. Normal sputum contains no blood flecks under any circumstances. It may mean tuberculosis, lung abscess, or bronchiectasis.

4. Measure the breath volume by exhaling a deep breath completely into a toy balloon. Clamp and push the balloon down into an over-flowing water filled pail. Withdraw the balloon and measure the water necessary to fill up the pail. It should equal at least one gallon-the same as the least normal breathing capacity of the lungs. A total breath volume, markedly under one gallon in volume, may indicate heart disease, emphysema or other lung destroying diseases.

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