Asthma is a common lung disorder characterized by episodes of coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma is caused by inflammation of the lining of the small airways in the lungs (bronchioles) which leads to spasm or narrowing of these tubes. This spasm triggers asthma symptoms. Asthma may develop at any age, but most commonly presents in early childhood or mid-adulthood. Most cases that occur in children improve over time and with appropriate treatment. Asthma that develops in adulthood typically responds well to treatment but is less likely to be outgrown.
Spirometry measures how much air you can inhale as well as how much and how fast you can exhale air. It is an important tool to diagnose and understand asthma severity and control.
Spirometry for asthma is used:
During your first visit with an allergist or immunologist
After treatment has started and your symptoms and peak expiratory flow have stabilized
To document your best airway function
At least once yearly to assess maintenance of airway function, regardless of medication (changes)
To evaluate the response to a change in therapy
Other tests, such as measurement of exhaled nitric oxide, also can assist in the diagnosis of asthma. Exhaled nitric oxide is a gas normally found in the breath, but increased amounts of this gas indicate asthmatic inflammation in the airways. Just as crucial as these tests, is the response to treatments and long-term lung function trend.
Check with your insurance carrier before an appointment is made to verify if testing is covered.
Call for more information about asthma or spirometry testing, or to schedule an appointment.