COPD is one of those conditions that is commonly misdiagnosed. As a former smoker, you’re likely to be told that you have COPD when in reality you’re suffering from a less severe lung condition. That is why it is important that you check out NOVA Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Associates if you suspect you’re suffering from COPD. People who are suffering from COPD might be diagnosed when the condition is at the advanced stages.
In order to diagnose the condition, the doctor will start by reviewing the signs and symptoms before delving into your family’s medical history. There will probably be discussions about exposure to lung irritants. There could be several tests to get to the bottom of the problem, and you might have already experienced some symptoms that result in a trip to get urgent care. Some of the tests to be done will include:
Lung Function Test
The purpose of a pulmonary function test is to measure the amount of air you can inhale and exhale. It is also meant to determine if the lungs are delivering enough oxygen to the blood. Spirometry is the most common test that is done to inspect the lung function. You will be required to blow into a large tube which is connected to a machine known as the spirometer. The machine is meant to measure how much air your lungs can hold and how fast it can be blown out.
A spirometer is able to detect COPD with a high degree of accuracy even before the symptoms become apparent. It also used to monitor the progression of the condition and if the treatment regimen is working.
The purpose of a chest X-ray is to show emphysema which is one of the main causes of the disease. An X-ray can also be used to rule out heart failure or other lung problems.
A CT scan will also be carried out to show emphysema and will help to determine if surgery is the right course of action depending on the severity of the condition. CT scan is also used to check for signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
Lab tests aren’t done to diagnose COPD. Instead, they’re used to look at the cause of the symptoms or rule out other resulting factors. The lab tests could be used to investigate if there are any genetic disorders which could be contributing to the condition.
It is never the end of the world when you’ve been diagnosed with COPD. You could be having a mild form of the condition which can be treated with the right therapy. If it is at the advanced stages, there are treatment options that will also be effective. It is important that you’re getting the right medical treatment and care to facilitate a faster recovery process. Some of the treatment options that doctors may recommend will include:
Such therapies will be applied if the condition is moderate to severe
Oxygen Therapy: You might need supplementary oxygen if it is not enough in the blood. There are different devices that could be used to deliver oxygen to the lungs. There are some people who will only use oxygen while sleeping or when engaged in an activity. Oxygen therapy will improve the quality of life and comfort levels.
Rehabilitation Programs: The pulmonary rehabilitation programs will include exercise training, counseling, nutrition advice, and education for improved health. You might have to work with different specialists who are particularly tailored for your individual needs. You get to participate in daily activities which will ultimately improve the quality of life.
You could experience the symptoms getting worse even when undergoing treatment. This could result in lung failure if you don’t get the right treatment in time.
The exacerbations could be triggered by a lung infection or pollutants. Whatever the cause, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. The doctor will provide antibiotics and will also offer advice on how to avoid the condition in the future.
This should be the last alternative and should only be done when it is absolutely necessary. A lung transplant might be necessary depending on the severity of the condition. That is why it is important you see a doctor as early as possible if you suspect you might be having a pulmonary disease. The sooner the problem is identified, the easier it will be to diagnose and treat. Make sure you’re seeing the right doctor for the condition as a general physician might not be helpful in diagnosis and treatment.