Pulmonary Function Tests San Antonio, TX
What Are Pulmonary Function Tests?
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a series of tests used to gauge how well you breathe. This often means studying the strength of your inhale and exhale as well as your body's ability to carry air through your system. These tests may be used to diagnose respiratory diseases such as asthma or bronchitis. They are also useful in monitoring the lungs for a large number of diagnostic and tracking purposes.
Abnormal results may provide early indication of lung cancer, fibrosis, and other diseases affecting the lungs. There are very few significant risks involved in any pulmonary function test, the most notable being a collapsed lung. It is not uncommon to experience shortness of breath or lightheadedness during a pulmonary function test. Certain tests may become physically uncomfortable or awkward depending on the devices used.
Before A Pulmonary Function Test
Immediately before receiving a pulmonary function test, you may be asked to stop smoking, fast or eat lightly, stop taking certain medications, and wear clothing that allows you to breathe normally. It is often advised to empty your bladder and remove items of jewelry that may interfere with respiratory function. You may be fitted with certain devices used during the test, often a nose clip or face mask. The devices are typically adjustable to fit your body and prevent air from escaping.
Pulmonary Function Tests & Measurements
- Spirometry: Spirometry is a measure of airflow which uses a mouthpiece to gauge the speed of your inhales and exhales.
- Plethysmography: This is a measure of lung volume which often involves recording pressure changes in a clear box as you stand on top of it, inhaling and exhaling into a mouthpiece.
- Lung volume: Lung volume may also be measured by tracking the concentration of gas in a chamber as you inhale and exhale from it.
- Diffusion capacity: This is a measure of how well gas travels into your bloodstream found by calculating the concentration of a harmless gas after you exhale it from your lungs.
- Vital capacity: This is a measure of how much you are able to exhale after inhaling as much air as possible.
- Forced vital capacity: This measurement is similar to vital capacity, however in this case the air is exhaled as quickly and forcefully as possible.
- Peak flow: Peak flow is a test used to measure the amount and rate of your inhales and exhales.
Exhaled Nitric Oxide Test
Not typically considered one of the standard pulmonary function tests, the exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) test measures inflammation of the bronchial tubes and can be useful in diagnosing asthma. Other uses include monitoring a chronic cough and testing the effectiveness of inhaled asthma medication. Exhaled nitric oxide testing gauges the level of nitric oxide in the lungs. Higher levels of nitric oxide typically a solid indicator of inflammation. The entire test typically takes about 15 minutes and consists of the patient inhaling to maximum capacity, before exhaling slowly into a tube. The tube connects to a computer which gathers data as the inhale/exhale process is repeated multiple times.
What Happens After A PFT?
If a PFT is used solely to monitor your pulmonary function, you may receive the results and an explanation of what they mean. In other cases, a pulmonary function test may contribute to a diagnosis such as asthma or bronchitis. Test results may also indicate whether factors affecting your pulmonary function (such as illness or medication) are helping or hurting you. Request more information about pulmonary function tests today. Call (210) 361-0581 or contact R Family Medical Group online.
R Family Medical Group
Address3110 Nogalitos St.
San Antonio, TX 78225
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