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This viral breathing test does not help you measure your lung health

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A video asking people to use the breath test as explained to check if your lungs are in a safe zone or not is widely being shared on social media. There are also many other such videos on the internet which claim the same. Let’s fact-check the claim.

Claim: This breath test can be used to check the lungs and Oxygen level and also if the lungs are in a safe zone.

Fact: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), holding your breath for more than 10 seconds does not mean you are free of any lung disease. However, a test known as Breath-holding test is used to test various health complications but it also accompanies various other testing methods when used. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

Upon searching on the internet with relevant keywords, we found many other similar videos which make the same claim. To understand the veracity of claim we looked for research articles in scientific journals. We found a few research papers which mention the use of a method known as Breath-holding test to evaluate and assess various other health complications. These articles can be accessed here, here, and here.

We further looked for relevant information provided by organizations such as the WHO and found a tweet in which they clearly stated that ‘Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the #coronavirus disease or any other lung disease.’ Similar method claiming to check your lungs and Oxygen level had  become viral during the COVID-19 pandemic and the tweet of WHO was in response to the same claims. These claims can be seen here and here.

On further investigation we found that breath-holding test can be used to determine our breathing patterns, but the breathing patterns just do not depend on the lungs alone and there are many factors that determine a persons breathing pattern.

According to an article by S’cience Direct’, “Breathing patterns vary among individuals and may be influenced by pain, emotion, body temperature, sleep, body position, activity level, and the presence of pulmonary, cardiac, metabolic, or nervous system disease (Table 4-4).” This article can be read here.

We have not found any scientific proof for the test that is being shown in the video which is to hold the breath from the given point A till point B for a certain period of time in the video.

To sum it up, this viral breath test does not help you measure your lungs’ healthiness.

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