The most effective and common method for diagnosing COPD is spirometry. It is also known as pulmonary function test or PFT. This easy, painless test measures lung function and capacity.
To perform this test, you’ll exhale as forcefully as possible into a tube connected to the spirometer, a small machine. The total volume of air exhaled from your lungs is called the forced vital capacity (FVC).
The percentage of the Forced vital capacity forced out in the first second is called the FEV1. FEV stands for forced expiratory volume. The maximum speed at which you empty your lung is called the peak expiratory flow rate(PEFR)
Spirometry reveals the efficiency of the lung muscles that are used in the inspiration and expiration process.
Bronchodilator reversibility test:
This test combines spirometry with the use of a bronchodilator which is the medicine to help open up your airways.
Initially, the standard spirometry test is used to get a baseline measurement of how well your lung are working. Then after about 15 minutes, the dose of bronchodilator medication and repeat the spirometry test.
Blood test reveals whether the symptoms are being caused by an infection or some other medical condition. An arterial blood gas test will measure the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. This is one of the indication of how well your lungs are working. This measurement can indicate how severe ypur COPD is and whether you may need oxygen therapy.
The doctor might check the levels of alpha 1 antitrypsin. This protein aids in the protection of the lung from inflammation caused by irritants such as pollution or smoking. It is produced by liver and then it is released into the bloodstream. With the help of the genetic deficiency alpha 1 antitrypsin can be detected. This test is harmless.
Chest x ray and CT scan:
A CT scan is a type of X ray that creates a more detailed image than a standard x ray. Any type of X ray might give the detailed pictures of structures inside your chest, including the heart lungs, and blood vessels.
Sputum is the mucus that is released when a person coughs.Sputum examination is indicated if you have a productive cough.
Analysing the sputum can help to identify the cause of the breathing difficulties and may help to detect the lung cancer.
Coughing enough to produce a sputum sample may be uncomfortable for a few moments. Otherwise, there are no real risks or downsides to a sputum examination. It can be very helpful in diagnosing your condition.
This helps to determine if your shortness of breath is being caused by a heart condition as opposed to a lung problem.
Over time, though, the breathing difficulties associated with COPD can lead to cardiac complications including abnormal heart rhythm and heart failure, and heart attack.
An EKG measures the electrical activity in your heart and can help diagnose a disturbance in your heart rhythm.