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Which tests are used to diagnose breathing problems?

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Doctors diagnose breathing problems by performing a physical exam, taking a patient history and family health history, and using different tests. For instance, pulmonary function tests, also known as lung function tests, are frequently used to assess lung function in people with asthma. These tests include spirometry and a test known as methacholine challenge. Spirometry is a simple breathing test. It measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can blow it. A methacholine challenge test may be performed to help establish a diagnosis of asthma. In some cases, the doctor may take an X-ray to see the structures inside your chest, including the heart, lungs, and bones. A chest X-ray is a good test to diagnose pneumonia. It can't, though, identify most breathing problems by itself. For some people with breathing problems, a CT scan of the chest is needed. This scan looks for any problems in the lungs. A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images. If you suffer with chronic sinusitis, your doctor may order a special sinus CT scan. This scan will be used to evaluate your sinuses. Once the problem is diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe effective treatment to help resolve the breathing difficulty.

SOURCES: American Lung Association: "What is Hay Fever?" American Lung Association: "Lung Disease." American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: "Tips to Remember: What is Allergy Testing?" MedlinePlus: "Pulmonary Function Tests." American Lung Association: "Asthma Facts." American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: "Rhinitis and Sinusitis."





Reviewed by William Blahd on July 14, 2017

SOURCES: American Lung Association: "What is Hay Fever?" American Lung Association: "Lung Disease." American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: "Tips to Remember: What is Allergy Testing?" MedlinePlus: "Pulmonary Function Tests." American Lung Association: "Asthma Facts." American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: "Rhinitis and Sinusitis."





Reviewed by William Blahd on July 14, 2017

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