So You Need A Pulmonary Function Test: Common Questions You May Have
If you suffer from allergies, frequent respiratory infections, or other conditions that restrict your airways, your doctor may be sending you for a pulmonary function test. On one hand, you're probably happy to move forward and take steps towards figuring out what's wrong. On the other hand, though, you might have some questions about the tests and what to expect. Hopefully, you will discover some answers below.
Will the test be painful or uncomfortable?
The short answer to this question is "no." Pulmonary function testing is noninvasive. There are two types of tests that are commonly used. The first is called spirometry. You'll blow into a mouthpiece that is connected to a machine that measures the force with which the air is expelled from your lungs. The second test is called plethysmography. This test has you stand in a box that measures the volume and force of your breaths as you breathe. You might feel a little out of breath after either test, but there shouldn't be any actual pain (unless breathing is normally painful for you.)
Are the tests safe?
The testing can be unsafe for patients who have had recent surgery, those with certain heart conditions, and those with active respiratory infections, such as the flu. Your doctor will not send you for pulmonary function testing unless they feel it is safe for you. If you do have any of these conditions, make sure your doctor is aware. If you develop an infection before your appointment, let your doctor know — they may want to reschedule the testing.
How do you prepare for pulmonary function tests?
You don't have to do much to prepare. Your doctor may request that you stop taking certain medications, such as steroids and blood pressure medications, a couple of days before testing. (Only do this if your doctor has specifically advised you to do so.) Wear loose clothing to your testing appointment so you can breathe easily and comfortably. Make sure you empty your bladder before the appointment since you might be in there a while and since bladder tension can make it harder to breathe deeply in some cases.
Pulmonary function testing can tell the doctor a lot about the condition of your lungs and how well they are performing. As you now know, these tests are painless, simple to prepare for, and generally safe for most patients. Talk to your doctor if you have any lingering concerns.
To learn more, reach out to a pulmonary function testing service.