Metabolic testing describes several tests that can be performed to assess the efficiency of a patient’s metabolism. Knowing that allows our team to determine how physically fit a patient is. The most commonly used metabolic tests are the VO2 max test and the resting metabolic rate (RMR) test.
What is the VO2 Max Test?
The VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake test determines the maximum ability of the body to take in oxygen. The higher the number, the fitter the patient is. A sedentary person might have a VO2 max of 35, while an elite athlete may have one at least twice that. As someone exercises, they inhale more and more oxygen, but if they push themselves too hard for too long, they reach a point where their respiration can’t keep up with their body’s demands. At that point, they have reached their VO2 max.
The results of the VO2 max test can also be used to calculate the patient’s lactate threshold, the point during exercise when lactate accumulates in the blood more quickly than the body can get rid of it. An athlete who has reached their lactate threshold becomes tired and has to slow down. Calculating someone’s lactate threshold enables our team to assess a patient’s endurance.
The VO2 max test is simple: The athlete puts on a mask that measures their respiration and walks or runs on a treadmill. Every few minutes, the tester adjusts the treadmill to increase the difficulty.
What is the Resting Metabolic Rate Test?
The RMR test lets the athlete or the medical professional to assess how many calories the subject’s body uses while they’re resting. Knowing the RMR will help somebody plan their diet more effectively by telling them how many calories they need to eat every day in order gain, maintain or lose weight. The more muscular someone is, the higher their RMR will be, since muscles burn more energy than does fat. Men, therefore, tend to have higher RMRs than women, and younger people tend to have higher RMRs than older people.
The RMR test, which is sometimes called the “Darth Vader test,” also involves wearing a mask. It will measure the amount of oxygen the patient inhales and the amount of carbon dioxide they exhale. The patient will also be hooked up to an EKG machine to measure their resting heart rate.
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