3 Medical Conditions That Require Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary function testing is the best way to determine how well the lungs are working. If you have certain symptoms, it may mean your lungs are not working as well as they should. These symptoms include wheezing, breathing problems, or recurrent respiratory infections. Besides these symptoms, if you have a medical condition that affects your lungs, you will most likely need to undergo pulmonary function testing.

Here are three medical conditions that require pulmonary function testing.

1. Cystic Fibrosis

This hereditary disease affects the lungs and digestive system. Cystic fibrosis occurs when a defective gene produces a faulty protein that causes a buildup of mucous in the lungs and other organs. While a majority of people with the disease are diagnosed by the age of 2, some of them aren't diagnosed until they reach adulthood.

It's not uncommon for those who are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis to have a phlegm-producing cough, frequent lung infections, and chronic sinus infections. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis. The average life expectancy for those with this disease in the United States is 37.5 years old. Thankfully, this figure continues to increase thanks to new treatments and more effective drugs.

2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a disease that is made up of a combination of progressive lung conditions. These conditions include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. When one has COPD, the airflow to their lungs is blocked, which makes it difficult to breathe.

Besides shortness of breath, other symptoms of COPD include wheezing, a chronic cough, tightness in the chest, and frequent respiratory infections. COPD is usually caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases and cigarette smoke. While there is no cure for COPD, it is possible to manage the symptoms.

3. Asthma

When the airways that carry air from the mouth and nose to the lungs become narrow and swollen, it results in a condition called asthma. This long-term disease of the lungs affects over 25 million Americans. This condition has been on the rise through the years.

Some of the most common symptoms of asthma include coughing and shortness of breath. There are certain irritants that trigger asthma. When a person's asthma gets triggered, it causes an asthma attack, which makes it very difficult for them to breathe. Some of the most common triggers of asthma attacks include tobacco smoke, outdoor air pollution, dust mites, pet dander, and mold.

Because these medical conditions are detrimental to one's health, it is important to undergo pulmonary function testing if they have difficulty breathing. The earlier the treatment starts, the better the symptoms can be managed.