Our lungs are probably are the most underappreciated organs. When they are working well, we don’t pay much attention to them at all, but any sort of problem could mean a severe issue for your health. Fortunately, one of the most useful tools out there at diagnosing the health of your lungs is spirometry through the use of a lung function machine. With this tool, doctors can check for a wide variety of lung diseases and prescribe the best course of action to get you the treatment you need for your best health.
What is Spirometry?
Before discussing the lung diseases that spirometry can diagnose, it is essential to understand what it is. Spirometry is a test that you can do at your local doctor’s office or health clinic. It’s fairly simple. You inhale deeply and exhale as hard and long as you can manage into the machine. What the spirometer does is measure how much you exhale and the rate at which you do it. It’s quick, simple, and takes less than ten minutes on average.
What Lung Diseases Can it Diagnose
Spirometry is essential in diagnosing some of the most severe lung conditions. It tests for asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), breathing disorders, and issues that may exacerbate existing conditions like hay fever, allergies, and even heartburn. It’s generally the first step in diagnosing any problems you might be experiencing with your respiratory system.
Who Should Get a Spirometry Test
Anyone suffering from symptoms of any lung diseases should be getting tested. Those with long-term lung problems, particularly chronic obstructive lung disease, should also be tested routinely. Also, people with asthma and smokers should get tested along with former smokers who are over age 40. Finally, even for those in good health, it is a good idea to get a periodic spirometry test because it is the best way to detect lung conditions early while they are at their most manageable and treatable.
How to Prepare for the Test
The test is straightforward. All you have to do is breathe through your mouth while wearing a nose clip. You inhale and exhale deeply, and the machine will measure different variables. To prepare for the exam, be sure to do the following:
- Wear loose clothing
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol within two hours of test
- Do not eat a large meal within two hours of exam
- Do not do high activity exercises within half an hour before the test
- Consult with your doctor if you are on any puffer medications and whether you can take them before the test or not
Typically, your results should be available within minutes after the exam. However, your doctor may choose to schedule a follow-up appointment should additional testing be necessary.
Your Best Way to Battle Lung Diseases
Lung diseases can be scary to deal with. Nonetheless, spirometry is your best course of defense in promoting your lung health. With this essential test, you can be sure that any conditions are caught early so you can breathe easily and live happily.