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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - Exams and Tests

To diagnose COPD, your doctor will probably do the following tests:

 

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Tests done as needed

Tests rarely done

  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) test.AAT is a protein your body makes that helps protect the lungs. People whose bodies don't make enough AAT are more likely to get emphysema.
  • A CT scan. This gives doctors a detailed picture of the lungs.

Regular checkups

Because COPD is a disease that keeps getting worse, it is important to schedule regular checkups with your doctor. Checkups may include:

Tell your doctor about any changes in your symptoms and whether you have had any flare-ups. Your doctor may change your medicines based on your symptoms.

Early detection

The sooner COPD is diagnosed, the sooner you can take steps to slow down the disease and keep your quality of life for as long as possible. Screening tests help your doctor diagnose COPD early, before you have any symptoms.

Talk to your doctor about COPD screening if you:

  • Are a smoker or an ex-smoker.
  • Have had serious asthma symptoms for a long time, and they have not improved with treatment.
  • Have a family history of emphysema.
  • Have a job where you are exposed to a lot of chemicals or dust.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) doesn't recommend COPD screening for adults who are not at high risk for COPD.5 And some experts recommend that screening be done only for people who have symptoms of a lung problem.6

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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