When you’re experiencing issues with your lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or any other condition that makes it difficult to breathe, your physician may order a Spirometry test. These tests are used to determine how well your lungs function by determining the amount you inhale and exhale and how quickly. They are also ordered to determine if a given treatment is improving a chronic lung condition or making it easier for you to breathe well.
Why Are Spirometry Tests Performed?
These tests can be requested by your physician if they are trying to determine if you are suffering from a variety of lung-related conditions or illnesses. These include the COPD and Asthma already mentioned, as well as emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis. Patients already diagnosed with a chronic disorder of the lungs may have this test performed to determine how well their treatment is working. If you have been scheduled to undergo an operation, you may also undergo spirometry to determine if your lungs are up to the tasks. In some cases, these tests are used to determine if you are suffering from a lung disorder that is occupationally related.
Are There Any Risks To Doing a Spirometry Test?
This test is generally considered to be safe, with dizziness or shortness of breath being the most common risks involved. Patients who’ve recently had a cardiac event or have another heart condition that contraindicates stress on the heart may not have this test administered. In very rare cases, severe breathing problems may result from undergoing this test.
How Do I Prepare For Spirometry?
Preparing for spirometry is fairly simple in most cases, with few steps needed to be ready for the test. The most common preparation steps include cessation of using medications before the test that affects breathing, such as inhaled medications. You should also wear loose clothing that will permit you to take a deep breath, and only eat a light meal to make deep breathing easier.
What Should I Expect During A Spirometry Test?
This test is performed by having you breathe into a tube that sends your breath into a machine known as a spirometer. You will be given thorough instructions on this step, so it’s essential that you listen closely and ask questions if you’re unsure of the steps involved. Accurately performing the test provides the best chance of meaningful results. Other elements of the test include:
- You will usually be asked to sit during the test.
- Your nose will have a clip placed on it to close your nostrils.
- You will be told to take a full breath, and then to breathe out with as much force as you can into the tube. Your lips must form a seal on the end of the tube, so no air is lost.
- You will be asked to perform the test no less than three times to ensure consistent and accurate results. You may need to repeat the test if the results vary too much. The highest value will be recorded as your final result.
- The test is completed in less than 15 minutes.
Inhaled medication may be provided by your physician to open your lungs after the first round of tests. Fifteen minutes later, you’ll need to do the test again to compare the results and see if the medicine helped.
If you’re experiencing breathing problems or wonder if you are living life with a chronic lung condition, call our offices at 1-803-283-2300 today. Or you can also visit our clinic at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC, during office hours to speak to one of our medical specialists.