Pulmonary Function Test Questions and Answers
Do you or your loved one have a hard time breathing? Do you think you may have asthma or another similar condition? The specialists at Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Maryland can help you breathe better. For more information, please call us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Silver Spring MD, Ammendale MD, Takoma Park MD, College Park MD, Langley Park MD, and Rockville MD.
Pulmonary function tests, also known as PFTs, are tests to measure the airflow of the lungs and the oxygen supply entering the blood supply. They help to diagnose a multitude of respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and can help improve one’s quality of life.
What is a pulmonary function test and how long does it take?
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are breathing tests to explore how well air moves in and out of the lungs and measures how well oxygen enters the bloodstream. The 3 most common pulmonary function tests are spirometry, diffusion studies, and body plethysmography.
Spirometry is used at Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland.
What is spirometry?
Spirometry is one of the most frequently ordered tests for lung function. The spirometer is a breath test that takes the measurement of the intake of air that you can breathe into your lungs and the amount of air you can quickly blow out of your lungs. This test is performed by taking a deep breath in and then, as quickly as you can, blow out all of the air.
The spirometer is the machine that reads the breath test. The tube that you breathe in is attached to the spirometer. It is recommended to repeat the test three times to get the best test result. You will be able to rest between the breath tests so that you don’t get fatigued.
It does take practice to be able to perform a spirometry test well. The friendly staff will work with you to teach you how to do the test correctly. This test doesn’t take long, usually taking 30 minutes to complete.
Why would my doctor send me for a pulmonary function test?
There are several reasons why your doctor would send you for a pulmonary function test.
If your doctor suspects a breathing problem, the PFT compares your lung function with known measurements to show how well your lungs are working.
It can help diagnose allergies, asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, respiratory infections, lung cancer and much more.
How do I prepare for my pulmonary function test?
There are a few things to prepare for so you can get the most accurate results.
- Do not smoke a day before the test.
- Do not drink alcohol before the test.
- Do not exercise before the test.
- Avoid caffeine
- Wear loose clothing so you are able to take a deep breath.
- Do not eat a big meal before the test as it may inhibit you from taking deep breaths.
- Ask your physician if you should not take any medications on the day of your test.
What are the risks of pulmonary function tests?
Pulmonary Function Tests are safe for most people. However, some people may feel light-headed due to having to blow deep breaths into the spirometer.
You should consult with your doctor if you recently had a heart attack, had eye surgery, had chest surgery, had abdominal surgery, have heart disease, or if you have a severe respiratory infection. Your doctor can help you determine the risks.
If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty breathing or other symptoms related to the respiratory system, come to Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland today! We offer pulmonary function tests to determine the efficiency of the air flow of your lungs and how effectively they transport oxygen to the blood. To get in touch with an expert, contact our office today. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call us or visit us online!