This article explains Pulmonary function test, how it is done, general tips for preparing for the test lung functions and much more.
Before you can diagnose bronchial asthma, your doctor will carefully examine your symptoms, your medical history, your hereditary predisposition to various diseases, and conduct lung function tests (also called lung performance tests). The doctor will be interested in any breathing problems that bother you, as well as a hereditary predisposition to asthma and other pulmonary or skin diseases, for example, eczema. It is very important that you describe in detail your symptoms (coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, squeezing in the chest area), including when and how often they manifest.
The doctor also conducts a physical examination and listens to how the lungs and heart work.
In addition to the test of pulmonary functions, the doctor can advise you to undergo an allergic reaction test, take a blood test and make an x-ray of the chest and nasal cavity. The results of these tests will help the doctor determine if your symptoms are caused by asthma or some other illness.
The pulmonary function test includes several procedures for diagnosing lung function problems. The two most common pulmonary function tests are spirometry and a test with methacholine load.
Pulmonary function test
Ask your doctor if any special preparations are necessary before spirometry.
Before the methacholine load test, be sure to notify your doctor if you recently had a viral infection, such as a cold, or you underwent immunotherapy, as this may affect test results.
A few more general tips for preparing for the test lung functions:
Be ready to adjust the medication. Some medications that apply asthma treatments can affect test results. The intake of certain drugs must be stopped within a certain time interval. For example, the intake of inhaled bronchodilators of fast action should be stopped eight hours before the test, and inhalation of long-acting bronchodilators in 48 hours. Your doctor will tell you when to stop taking medication. Do not make a decision to stop taking medication yourself, without the permission of a doctor.
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