Jiki Medical Associates, LLC
Internal Medicine located in Rockville, MD
Asthma & Pulmonary Function Test
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects how you breathe. When you’re exposed to certain triggers, like allergens or physical activity, your airways become inflamed and your body produces extra mucus.
This inflammation and mucus interfere with your breathing, causing a variety of symptoms related to an asthma attack, such as:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
In serious cases of asthma, breathing issues can become life-threatening and require emergency medical treatment at the nearest hospital or by calling 911.
What causes asthma?
Allergies are a common cause of asthma. When you’re exposed to certain triggers, like mold, pollen, or pet dander, you can experience asthma-related inflammation in your airways.
Other common causes of an asthma attack include:
- Air pollution
- Exposure to cold air
- Respiratory infections
You may also experience asthma symptoms if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition where weak valves in your esophagus allow stomach acids to flow back up into your throat.
How is asthma diagnosed?
Diagnosing asthma involves a physical exam and a review of your symptoms. Your Jiki Medical Associates physician can discuss your medical history to determine if your breathing issues are related to a condition other than asthma.
To evaluate how well your lungs are working, the Jiki Medical Associates team offers on-site pulmonary function tests. These noninvasive tests require you to breathe into a device that measures how much air you can move in and out of your lungs and how fast you can move it.
Your doctor also evaluates whether allergies contribute to your asthma and can order allergy testing to pinpoint your specific triggers.
How is asthma treated?
Your treatment plan for asthma depends on its cause and severity. If you have allergies, you may need to take over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications to ease symptoms and prevent an asthma attack. You should also avoid your allergy triggers.
If you experience an asthma attack relating to physical activity, you may benefit from inhaled medications that quickly reduce inflammation in your airways, so you can breathe easier. You may also need occasional breathing treatments, which deliver medications through a facemask to further alleviate airway inflammation.
If you suspect you have asthma or need help managing your condition, contact Jiki Medical Associates today by phone or by using the online booking feature.
What is a pulmonary function test?
A pulmonary function test is exactly what it sounds like: a test to see how your lungs are working. This painless, noninvasive test gives your Jiki Medical Associates provider the opportunity to observe your lung function, seeing:
- How much air you normally inhale and exhale
- How much air you can inhale and exhale at maximum lung capacity
- How much air is left in your lungs after you exhale fully
- How forcefully you can exhale
- How quickly you can exhale
- Your total lung capacity
By examining all of these areas during your pulmonary function test, your Jiki Medical Associates provider gets a clear look at how your lungs are working — and areas where they may need support.
Why would I need a pulmonary function test?
This test allows Jiki Medical Associates to look for anything that could be obstructing your airways or restricting your lungs. As a result, it’s effective in diagnosing:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Respiratory infections
Additionally, if you’ve started treatment for asthma, COPD, or another condition, the pulmonary function test can determine how effectively your treatment is improving your lung function.
What should I expect during a pulmonary function test?
Before your test, your Jiki Medical Associates provider gives you instructions to help you prepare. This usually means not smoking or using a quick-relief asthma inhaler for at least six hours before your test and wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Your provider may also advise that you avoid a large meal or certain medications beforehand.
During your test, you place a sterile mouthpiece in your mouth and create an airtight seal around it with your lips. Your Jiki Medical Associates provider then guides you through a number of breathing exercises, each of which allows them to gather important information about your lung function.
You perform these exercises multiple times to ensure the results from your pulmonary function test are accurate.
Some people feel fatigued after the test but, unless you feel the need to rest, you can continue on with your day immediately after.
If you want your pulmonary function test performed in a comfortable environment, don’t hesitate to schedule it at Jiki Medical Associates by calling the office or making an appointment online today.
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