Generally testing for COPD starts with a simple breathing test called Spirometry. It provides detailed information about how your lungs are working. You exhale into a machine called a spirometer. The spirometer measures how much air you can exhale in the first second and how much air you can exhale total. For the testing to accurately measure how your lungs are working, it is important that you give your best effort when exhaling. Hyperinflated lungs mean air is trapped in the small airways and the lungs appear larger than usual, on the chest X-ray. Hyperinflation is not specific for COPD. It can be seen with asthma and other lung diseases. If it occurs in only one lung, obstruction of the bronchus to that lung should be considered
The BEST way of diagnosing COPD is a combination of patient history, high resolution spiral chest CT scan and full pulmonary function test (PFT) before and after bronchodilator by a GOOD pulmonologist who is experienced in differentiating between COPD, asthma, and other lung conditions. Often you may find such a doc in a large teaching hospital with a GOOD pulmonary department.
Asthma and other conditions can cause hyperinflated lungs in ANYBODY. My teen asthmatic children have hyperinflated lungs via chest x-rays--they do NOT have COPD.
My pulmonary doctor diagnosed me with emphysema. It showed up on pft and chest x-ray. I seen another doctor in the same office for a 3mo check up and he seems to think I only have asthma. Should I be re-checked? There is a big difference between the 2 doctors.
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