If your doctor suspects you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), he may order a spirometry test to find out for sure. While medical tests can be scary or nerve-racking, preparing yourself and knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves, leading to early detection and better symptom management. Here are the spirometry test basics, from the Mayo Clinic, you should know if you suspect you have COPD.
Why The Test Is Performed
If you show signs of COPD, your doctor may suggest a spirometry test. In addition to diagnosing COPD, the Mayo Clinic says this test can also identify asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and other conditions that affect your breathing. You might also undergo a spirometry test to check your lung function if you’re receiving treatment.
What To Expect
While your doctor or nurse should explain the process of the test to you, it is good to know what is involved. You will be asked to keep your nostrils closed with a clip and breathe out quickly. While you breathe into a tube attached to the spirometer, the machine measures how quickly you can expel air from your lungs and how much air you can exhale after taking a deep breath.
Expect to perform this action at least three times to help get an accurate reading. This usually takes less than 15 minutes. It’s normal to feel a little dizzy or short of breath after performing the test.
If your doctor gives you medication on the spot to help open up your lungs, you'll be asked to wait 15 minutes before another set of measurements is taken. That way the doctor can tell if the medication makes an improvement in your lung function.
How To Prepare
Follow the doctor’s instructions regarding whether you should use oxygen or breathing medications before the test. Then, to help the spirometry test go as smoothly as possible, wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment. It's also helpful to avoid eating a big meal before visiting the doctor so it’s easier for you to breathe.
For more information about COPD and continuing a healthy, independent lifestyle, download this free guide from DoMoreWithOxygen.com today.