Free Essay: Factors Affecting Vital Capacity
Vital capacity refers to the maximum volume or amount of air that a person can expel from the lungs after a maximum inhalation. This amount of air equals the volume of the inspiratory reserve, tidal volume and expiratory reserve volume. Vital capacity of a person can be measured using wet or regular spirometer. There are several factors affecting vital capacity.
In normal adults, vital capacity ranges between 3 and 5L. However, the vital capacity exhibited by an individual varies on the basis of various factors including their height, ethnicity, age, weight and height. In most cases, people with low vital capacity are associated with obesity, chronic illness of the respiratory system or disability.
Exercise also affects vital capacity. Exercising increases vital capacity. This is because additional nutrients are required by the muscles while performing difficult tasks. This implies that the body requires more oxygen which must be supplied through the lungs. To inhale oxygen in large quantities, the lungs must expand further. This increases vital capacity. Health of the lungs can generally improve with consistent exercises.
Smoking is another factor that affects vital capacity. To know the amount of air that the lungs can hold, doctors use vital capacity. They do this by having an individual exhale and then inhale the maximum amount of air possible. This is followed by a measurement of the amount of air that has been inhaled.
Doctors have found that smoking decreases the amount of air that is inhaled by an individual. Even individuals who are not addicted smokers have their vital capacity affected by smoking. Studies have shown that vital capacity decreases most among individuals who start smoking at adolescence. Adolescent girls are affected the most when compared to adolescent boys.
Vital capacity is also affected by the strength of the respiratory muscles. If the respiratory muscles are stronger, then a person has higher vital capacity. This is usually the case with athletes. They strengthen their respiratory muscles by exercising and proper diets. Diseases in the pleura and the lungs also affect vital capacity. Such diseases include tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma and pulmonary edema among others.
Age also affects vital capacity. Normally, vital capacity is more in young people. Vital capacity is also affected by sex of a person or gender. In female, vital capacity is less by 20 to 25 percent. Vital capacity is also proportional to the surface area of a person. Additionally, the posture of a person at any given time determines their vital capacity. While lying, vital capacity is low and more while sitting. Vital capacity is at the highest level while standing.
Other factors that affect vital capacity include abnormal ventilation caused by airway obstruction or lungs’ fibrosis as well as any mechanical interference with the chest compression and expansion.
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