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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

How do you test for COPD?

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I think I might have COPD. What tests might my doctor do to determine if that's the case?

COPD is diagnosed with lung function testing (pulmonary function tests), such as spirometry. Spirometry measures lung function and capacity. It involves exhaling into a tube connected to a machine.

COPD can also be assessed with a chest X-ray, CT scan, arterial blood gas assessment, and other laboratory tests.

There's also the 6-minute walk test. It's a test that measures the functional status of those with COPD. It provides information about the possibility of a drop in oxygen saturation. This helps determine if you need supplemental oxygen.

There's more information on diagnosing COPD here.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Treatment
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston, DO, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is an allergist/clinical immunologist at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Assistant Professor at Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He has lectured at national and international medical conferences and has publications in several medical journals, including “Clinical Immunology,” “World Allergy Organization Journal,” “Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” and the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

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