Vital capacity is simply defined as the maximum amount of air that an individual is able to expel from the lungs after a maximum intake of air. It is equivalent to the sum of inspiratory reserve volume, expiratory reserve volume and tidal volume. Vital capacity can be based upon so many factors, thus, it is in order to say that there are various factors that can affect vital capacity. Vital capacity can be affected by anything that hinders the lungs from being able to expand to their full capacity, or blocks up the air tract or lungs.
One of the factors that can be said to have an impact on vital capacity is genetics. People are born different with body feature are not similar in quite a number of ways. In the same way, you can find that the rib cage varies from one person to another; some are large in size while others are narrow. However, it should be noted that the bigger an individual’s rib cage is, the greater the ability of lungs to expand.
There is also another factor that can prevent the ability of lungs to fully expand; injured or weak diaphragm. When one has got an injury in the diaphragm, it becomes painful to stretch the ribs, thereby inhibiting the ability of lungs to expand to their full size. People with conditions like pleuresia, tension pneumothorax or even wounds in the chest can be faced with this problem. Besides, putting on constrictive clothing can also prevent the ribs from being able to stretch fully. A weak diaphragm can also be as a result of aging due to diminishing elasticity.
When your diaphragm is weak, it means that the respiratory muscles do not have the power to contract and relax. It should be noted that the stronger the respiratory muscles, the more the vital capacity.
There are also other factors that can affect the vital capacity like accumulation of substances like tar as a result of smoking, inhaled particulate matter in the lungs, infections like colds or pneumonia, health conditions like cystic fibrosis and emphysema, body fluids filling the lungs as a result of leaking blood vessels and even growths like tumors. Whenever such accumulate in the lungs, it becomes difficult for the ribs to stretch freely. In fact, even breathing becomes a problem to people with conditions like the ones highlighted above. Other serious diseases that can also hinder vital capacity include asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, pulmonary edema among others.
Apart from the above mentioned, there are other additional factors that can also affect the vital capacity like age, sex, body mass, abdominal tumors, bone deformities, weight among others. In order for one to be safe from experiencing complications or conditions that are related to vital capacity, it is advisable that you often see a doctor to measure yours. In case there is an early detection of a problem, it can be easier and quick to get the required help.
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