Breathing is a natural process that many people take for granted… until they run into trouble. If you have chronic respiratory problems, you will appreciate the importance of just being able to breathe normally. There are numerous diagnostic tests that can reveal problems which can then be treated.
Asthma is a very common respiratory problem, being experienced by millions of people around the world. Most of the time you would use a preventer and a reliever to manage your condition and you would be fine. But there are lots of people whose asthma is more serious, and they need a nebulizer to help them breathe. This resembles an oxygen machine, but uses asthma medication instead.
You can have a portable one at home for use when needed; it is easy to use and provides immense relief. As for tests, you may need an allergy test to see if your asthma is triggered by inhaling something specific, such as cigarette smoke or pollen. Tests can be done on your skin and/or blood.
You may have lung function tests as well. The doctor will know what to do, depending on how you react. It’s vital that you manage your asthma properly, because even though it may not seem like a severe problem, if left untreated, in some cases it may be fatal.
Your doctor may order a pulmonary function test. This measures the capacity and volume of your lungs, gas exchange and flow rate, and can help the doctor diagnose certain lung problems. These tests are not invasive, but there can be some side effects. Contraindications include: the flu, chest pain, respiratory infections, recent surgery on your eye(s) as there can be an increased in pressure, aneurysms, tuberculosis or a recent heart attack.
You may have obstructive or restrictive lung problems. The obstructive problem happens if the air doesn’t flow out of the lungs properly because it meets resistance. The restrictive problem is where your chest muscles can’t fully expand, so your airflow is disrupted. The pulmonary function test will diagnose the correct problem and then the doctor can start the treatment.
You could also have a chest X-ray or a Computed Tomography (CT) scan to help determine whether you have any respiratory problems. A lung scan can help discover blood clots that have formed and may prevent proper breathing.
There are two types of lung scans. The first type uses a ventilation scan, where a gas is inhaled and the images can show parts of your lungs that may be getting too much or not enough air. The second type of lung scan is a perfusion scan, which uses a radioactive tracer that is injected into your vein, going into your blood and then into your lungs. The images will show parts of the lungs that don’t get enough blood.
If you have trouble breathing, it is essential to get tested, in order to prevent problems from becoming serious. Even the simplest symptom could indicate more severe problems of which you may be unaware.