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How Does Spirometry Help Diagnose Asthma?

More than 25 million people in the United States are living with asthma, and most of them are children. People with asthma experience airway symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, tightness of the chest, and labored breathing. Proper diagnosis is key to effectively managing the condition and living well with asthma. Spirometry is among the tools used to make the right diagnosis.

How lungs work

As part of your respiratory system, your lungs help you breathe. When working properly, the lungs move fresh air into your body and remove waste gases. Your lungs also protect you from harmful substances through coughing and sneezing. Your nose, mouth, and throat are major parts that make breathing possible.

Living with asthma

Many people develop asthma as a child, but adult-onset isn’t uncommon. Asthma is characterized by swelling of the airways that when left uncontrolled can cause serious, even life-threatening complications.  

Having asthma means you must take special care to limit attacks and stick to a treatment plan so that you can live a full life.

Asthma and allergies

Many people with asthma also have allergies. If you’re allergic to airborne substances like pollen, pet dander, or dust mites, these same substances may trigger an asthma attack or make it worse. For some people food or skin allergies contribute to asthma symptoms.

Through his practice Allergy Relief Clinics, Dr. Rafiquddin Rahimi can perform a painless skin prick test to determine whether you have allergies. Since allergies and asthma often occur together, checking for allergies is an important part of making the proper diagnosis.

Spirometry

There isn’t a single measurement used alone to diagnose asthma. Instead, diagnosis is made using a patient’s symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam, along with long function tests. Spirometry is one such test and is a reliable tool for diagnosing asthma.

The test measures the amount of air that enters and leaves the lungs. A device called a spirometer is connected to a mouthpiece and flexible tube. The patient inhales deeply and then exhales through the mouthpiece to measure how much air you’re able to breathe in and out.

The patient then inhales a medication called a bronchodilator and repeats the test. If lung function greatly improves after a bronchodilator, you likely have asthma.

Managing asthma

A peak flow meter measures the force at which you push air out of your lungs. You can use it at home to track your condition. It’s a small, handheld device into which you exhale after inhaling deeply. It’s typical to use the peak flow meter twice a day to help determine whether your asthma is under control. This can be an important part of your treatment plan as the results show how well air moves out of your lungs.

Asthma treatment

Understanding asthma treatments will help you manage your condition with confidence. You and Dr. Rahimi will work together to create an action plan. Treating asthma involves identifying your triggers and limiting your exposure to triggers as much as possible.

Short-acting inhalers

Quick-relief inhalers are used to provide immediate relief of asthma symptoms. These medications work by relaxing the muscles that tighten the airways, enabling you to breathe easier.

Long-term medications

Medications like inhaled corticosteroids, combination-inhaled medicines, and long-acting beta-agonists treat symptoms and help prevent attacks for long-term asthma management. This helps make your airways less sensitive to triggers.

A comprehensive treatment plan makes all the difference when it comes to gaining control and getting relief from asthma symptoms. If you’re diagnosed with or suspect that you have asthma, visit allergy relief clinics in Richardson, Texas. Call today to schedule an appointment. For your convenience, you can also book online using our web scheduling tool.

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