Should I Get Tested?
Yes, you should get tested if you have any of these warning signs:
- A history of smoking
- Long-term exposure to harmful inhalants like chemicals, secondhand smoke, or even pollution
- Chronic wheezing
- Chronic coughing of any kind
- Worsening shortness of breath
- Fatigue or reduced physical abilities, especially compared with people of similar age
By far the most common cause of COPD is regular exposure to toxic inhalants, so anyone who has a history of smoking or who works around chemicals should get tested. Genetics can also be a factor. If there is family history of COPD, a person experiencing any of the related symptoms should be tested.
What Tests Are Used?
The most common test used to diagnose COPD is spirometry. A spirometer is a machine attached to a tube and mouthpiece. When a person blows into the mouthpiece, completely emptying his or her lungs, the machine records how much air is blown during the first second and how much is blown after 6 seconds. These two numbers give doctors an idea of how well a person’s lungs are functioning.
A few other tests may also be requested. A doctor may want a chest x-ray or CT scan to rule other possible causes for the lung obstruction. Bronchodilator Reversibility Testing may also be administered to see if medication helps.
Where Can I Get Tested?
If you think you may be at risk for COPD, give us a call right away. Asthma & Allergy Associates of Colorado Springs diagnoses and treats patients with COPD. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner steps can be taken to mitigate the damage that already exists.