Glossary of Terms

Here are some commonly used terms and phrases that you will find while reading our site:

Asthma: A lung disease in which tightening of the air passages can provoke wheezing and breathing difficulties

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD): A lung disease in which the airways in the lungs produce excess mucus resulting in frequent coughing. Smoking is a very common cause of COPD

Cystic Fibrosis: A genetic disease involving a sticky build-up of mucus in the lungs, this makes breathing difficult and leads to infections. It can also cause pancreatic problems, which then affects digestion. It is a recessive disease, occurring only when a child inherits two mutated copies of the CF gene, one from each parent

Allergic Rhinitis or 'Hayfever': This is a collection of symptoms that predominately exist in the eyes and the nose. It is caused by exposure to airborne particles of dust, dander, or pollen of certain plants; this then leads to an allergic reaction.

Gold Standard: This is the "best" test to determine whether something exists or not. The term Gold Standard is commonly used in medicine to distinguish the one test that identifies whether an individual has a particular disease.

Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF): The maximum speed of air of a patient during a forced expiration

Peak Flow Meter: The Peak Flow Meter measures Peak Expiratory Flow during a forced expiration, the scale used is litres per minute (abbreviated to L/min), this measure is an indication of how well the lungs and airways are performing. A high measure means that a patient's airways are not constricted where as a low reading means there is a constriction within the airways.

Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV): The volume of air expelled during a forced expiration

FEV1: The volume of air expelled in a forced expiration after one second

Forced Vital Capacity (FVC): The maximum amount of air that can be expelled from the lungs

Ratio of FEV1/FVC as %: This is the percentage of vital capacity which is expired in the first second of maximal expiration

Spirometer: A device that measures the volume and speed of air inhaled and exhaled from the lungs. Spirometers are an important tool for assessing lung diseases such as Asthma, COPD and Cystic Fibrosis.

Nebuliser: A device that administers medication to people in a liquid mist form to the airways

Spacer: This device assists in improving drug delivery to the lungs, an inhaler is attached at one end and the patient then inhales medication at the other end

Oxygen Therapy: Administration of any gas, for medical purposes, that contains more than 21% Oxygen

Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI): A device for delivering measured does of medication in the form of a fine spray, used by asthmatic patients.

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