Lung Function Testing in children in Illinois can help diagnose Asthma
Lung function or pulmonary function tests can be performed in children over the age of five and are a valuable resource in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. The most common test performed on children is called a spirometry test, which determines how well the child’s lungs are working. This type of test measures how much and how quickly a child can move air in and out of the lungs.
What is asthma?
Asthma affects nearly 5 million children in the United States. This chronic problem is characterized by narrowing and swelling in the airways, which can make breathing difficult. Some of the most common symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and tightening of the chest.
The Lung Function Test
During the test, the child is asked to stand up and take in a deep breath, followed by exhaling as hard and fast as possible into a mouthpiece. The child is given instructions to continue blowing until their lungs feel “empty.” To prevent air from escaping, the child may need to wear nose clips. Patients will need to repeat the test several times. In general, we want two to three good readings.
The data is collected by computer sensor located within the spirometer device and then calculated and graphed. This information shows how fast the child is able to blow along with the amount of air that was blown out. Results also include the total amount of air the child was able to expel from their lungs.
The results from the spirometry test help determine if there is an obstruction or narrowing of the airflow, consistent with an asthma diagnosis. In addition to spirometry, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, which includes details of the symptoms experienced along with a complete medical history. If it is determined that the child has asthma, medication, called a bronchodilator, may be prescribed to help open up the airways.
Asthma is not a condition that can be cured, but with the right combination of treatment and medication, it can be controlled. If you are in Illinois and you would like to learn more about lung function testing for your child, call us today.