You may have heard of pulmonary lung tests (PFTs) before, but aren’t quite sure what it is. Simply, this test measures how well your lungs function. The test itself measures how well you are able to breathe and how your lungs bring oxygen to the rest of your body.
Today, we will go over more detail of why a PFT test is important and why you should take a PFT on a regular basis. Let’s get started!
Lung Problems Arising
If you start to experience having lung problems of any kind your doctor will have you take a PFT test. If you are getting ready for a surgery, your doctor may also order a test done to make sure your lungs are functioning well.
For the most part, the PFT test will detect:
- Respiratory infections like bronchitis
- Pulmonary tumors
- Lung cancer
If My Doctor Orders a Test, How Should I prepare?
If you are taking medication of any kind, you should talk to your doctor if you should discontinue the medication before the test. You should also be aware that you shouldn’t eat a full meal before the test as this can prevent your lungs from taking a deep breath due to stomach acid digesting food. Try to also avoid food that contains caffeine as this opens up the airways in your lungs that can change the outcome of the test.
When You Should Avoid the PFT Test
There are a few specific situations where you shouldn’t take this PFT test. You should avoid the test if you fall into one of these categories:
- You’ve had a heart attack within the last year
- You’ve recently had eye, chest, or abdominal surgeries
- Have heart disease
- Have a respiratory infection
You would want to advise your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Typically, your doctor will not have you take the test, but may have it done under their supervision.
The Test Itself
When you take the PFT test it has two parts to it. These two parts include:
- Spirometry: This part of the test measures the air you breathe in and out. They put a clip on your nose, so the test relies solely on your lungs. The technician giving the test will explain how you should breathe for the test. The test also involves a tracer gas, which measures how well your lungs function. Don’t worry this gas will not harm you in any way.
- Plethysmography: This test measures the gas in your lungs in terms of volume capacity for strength. This plays an important role in finding any abnormalities in your lungs.
Most doctors include a PFT test as a part of a regular physical checkup. However, sometimes this test is not included, and you can ask your doctor if you could take the test as part of your checkup. If you start experiencing lung problems, it’s most likely your doctor will order this test for you, as this will help reveal any abnormalities in your lungs.