Lung / Pulmonary Function Tests
What are lung / pulmonary function tests?
There are several types of lung or pulmonary function tests. Some are available only in large hospitals or research centers. The most informative and clinically useful tests are spirometry and peak expiratory flow measurements. The peak expiratory flow rate measurements are used for home monitoring of asthma. Spirometry is the test usually performed in a doctor’s chamber or in a hospital. Spirometry can be done using a spirometer while peak expiratory flow rate can be measured using a peak flow meter.
Why are lung / pulmonary function tests necessary?
Pulmonary function testing is to bronchial asthma what blood sugar measurement is to diabetes or blood pressure measurement is to hypertension. These tests measure the degree of the severity of disease accurately. Most patients are not able to judge the severity of their disease with precision; in fact, they often underestimate the disease. The result is inadequate treatment and inadequate control of the disease.
It may come as a surprise to you but even your physician cannot always estimate the severity of asthma. Chest examination using a stethoscope is notoriously unreliable. Therefore, an objective and reliable method of assessment of the severity of asthma is necessary. This is accomplished by pulmonary function test.