What is a Lung Function Test?
Lung function test is a simple and non-invasive test to assess the function of your lungs. This test will evaluate how quickly air can move in and out of your lungs. It helps to identify high risk patients for lung diseases.
A lung function test unit and the analysis program
How safe is a Lung Function Test?
The Lung function test is simple, safe, and painless. There is no short or long term risk or complication.
Why should I have a Lung Function Test?
The lung function test allows early detection of the two main types of lung diseases i.e. the obstructive lung diseases and the restrictive lung diseases. In the obstructive lung diseases, the airways are narrowed and this can occur in asthmatic patients and in smokers. In restrictive lung disease, there is actually a reduction in the functioning lung tissue. Early detection allows steps (change of lifestyle or medications) to be taken to prevent or retard the deterioration of the lung diseases.
Who should have a Lung Function Test?
Anyone who is has high risk for lung diseases such as asthmatic patients and smokers (both active and passive smokers) and especially those with a family history of lung diseases.
How can I prepare for a Lung Function Test?
You should not have a heavy meal just before the test and you should not smoke or exercise strenuously for 4-6 hours before the test. If you have dentures, you should bring them along and wear them during the test.
How is a Lung Function Test done?
You will be asked to wear a nose clip during the test to ensure that no air goes in or out of your nostrils. You will then, be asked to breathe in and out normally. The test begins when you blow rapidly and deeply into a mouthpiece attached to a recording device (spirometer). The spirometer with a computerized sensor will measure the air flow rate and report the results in a graph. This graph will show the movement of air in and out of your lungs.
You may occasionally be asked to inhale certain a spray containing medications prior to a repeat test. This is to assess whether your airways will response to medications if the initial test showed evidence of airway obstruction.
How long does the Lung Function Test take?
This test normally takes 5 to 10 minutes.
How reliable is the test?
The accuracy of the test depends on your ability to follow all of the instructions. You will have to breathe rapidly and deeply during the lung function test to achieve the best results. Results will be inaccurate if the person does not follow instructions or does not give his or her best effort during testing.
Pregnancy, a full stomach, and distended abdomen may interfere with the test results while inability to breathe normally due to pain, tight clothing etc may lead to spurious results. Certain medications including sedations may also interfere with your lung function and these may need to be withheld prior to the test.
Disclaimer: This is only general information. A doctor should be contacted if you need any medical advice or if medical decisions need to be made.