Your loved one's doctor might recommend a breathing test called spirometry in order to get a better picture of how her COPD is progressing. Understanding the test can help you and your loved one realize why it's such an important test.
What Spirometry Tests
Spirometry is a specific type of lung function test that looks at how much air your loved one's lungs can hold and how rapidly she's able to move air into and out of her lungs. It can also give your loved one's doctor information about how well your loved one's lungs are processing oxygen and carbon dioxide. It's an easy test for your loved one to perform. All your loved one needs to do is take as deep a breath as possible and then blow it out as hard as she can through a tube.
Variations on the Test
While this is an incredibly simple test, it gives your loved one's doctor a lot of information. But there may still be more information necessary. To get that, your loved one's doctor might ask her to take inhaled medication, wait for it to take effect, and then perform the spirometry test again. Her doctor may also ask that she walk on a treadmill for a few minutes before testing again.
Stages of COPD and Worsening Symptoms
Besides the quantifiable information that this test gives your loved one's doctor, it also allows him to objectively measure whether her symptoms have worsened. This gives her doctor a way to also let you and your loved one know more accurately which stage of COPD your loved one is currently in. That information is vital to allow you to modify her current care plan.
Spirometry Is Just One Test for COPD
There are a full range of other pulmonary function tests that your loved one's doctor might order for your loved one besides spirometry. Some involve taking blood to send to the lab while others might involve testing the exact concentration of oxygen in her body. Spirometry is one of the least invasive of these types of tests which can make it one of the simplest to use as often as necessary.
Results of spirometry and other breathing tests gives you a plan of action that you can share with other family members and home care providers to help keep your loved one as healthy as possible.
If you or an aging loved one are considering homecare in Elkhorn, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.