A pulmonary function test, or PFT, is a comprehensive test to determine the overall health of your lungs. A pulmonary specialist in Birmingham may order a PFT to be certain that your lungs are working properly and to check your lungs for a number of common, serious lung problems.
The major benefit of getting a PFT done is that it can catch pulmonary problems early, before you even show serious symptoms or notice a problem. Early diagnosis leads to early treatment, which ensures that you can live a healthy life.
Another benefit of a PFT is that people with chronic lung problems or a serious condition can find out how they are progressing, if their conditions are spreading, if their lungs are holding up against the disease, and if they are responding well to treatment.
A PFT screening can help diagnose a number of serious and common lung problems, including:
- Severe allergies
- Respiratory infections
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Lung tumors
- Lung cancer
- And many other diseases
A pulmonary function test may involve spirometry, a test to measure the capacity of air you inhale and exhale. You will be given a secure mouthpiece and will breathe into a machine. Your nose may be clipped so that you only breathe in and out through your mouth. A technician will assist you as your breathing is measured. You will be asked to breathe normally, to make a few short huffing breaths, and to make a few long and deep breaths. You may be given medication to open your airways or you may be given a special gas like helium to help measure the air flow in and out of your lungs. You may even perform the test in several steps—with and without the assistance of medications or gasses—and the technician will measure the changes in your breathing.
The spirometry test will also help to measure how your lungs transfer oxygen into your bloodstream, where this vital gas will then be distributed to nourish cells throughout your entire body.
You may also be given a plethysmography test during your PFT. This test will measure the overall volume of space in your lungs and the size to which they inflate when you inhale. You will sit inside a booth and breathe into a fitted mouthpiece. The pressure will be measured as you breathe normally.
These simple, pain-free tests can help determine if your lungs are healthy and if you have any hidden conditions or problems. If you want to sign up to have a pulmonary function test, contact a pulmonary specialist in Birmingham and set up an appointment soon. Even if you are completely healthy, this test will provide you with some reassurance and good news.
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