What is the Pulmonary Function Test?
Pulmonary function tests (PFT) are a series of non-invasive tests that serve to help diagnose how well the lungs are functioning. They measure lung volume, lung capacity, efficiency of gas exchange, and rates of flow. At our Advanced Dermatology in New York and New Jersey, our allergists often use this test in conjunction with skin reaction tests in order to determine a patient’s allergies. PFTs are especially useful tools in helping us diagnose conditions like hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust, or other irritants.
Overview of the Procedure
The pulmonary function test is a series of tests that includes:
- Spirometry: measures how much air can be inhaled and exhaled
- Gas Diffusion: to determine how efficiently gas exchange occurs in the lungs
- Inhalation Challenge: measures how your lungs respond to potential allergens
When Might a PFT Test Be Required?
If you’re experiencing respiratory problems, shortness of breath, or problems breathing, our allergy specialists may recommend you schedule a Pulmonary Function Test at one of our NY or NJ offices.
In many cases, conditions like allergen-induced asthma or hay fever can be treated through medication or immunotherapy. Learning to recognize and limit your exposure to known allergens is often one of the most effective methods of controlling immune responses.
How Should You Prepare?
In addition to the initial consultation with our allergist, where your medical history will be discussed, there are a few things that you can do a few days in advance to prepare for your tests. To get more accurate results, avoid anything that will raise your breathing rate above what is normal or what will affect the humidity within your lungs. This includes caffeine, intense exercise, prolonged exposure in humid or cold environments, and smoking. Caffeine, specifically, causes the lungs to relax, which will cause your airways to open up more than normal.
If you currently take any medication, our allergist will advise you on your best course of action. If you take a bronchodilator too close to your test, your results will likely be skewed.
Recovery and Results
As these tests are completely non-invasive and the worst that you will probably experience is some light dizziness from heavy breathing and holding your breath. If you have previous medical problems relating to your heart, this test may be too hard on your system. We will discuss this during your consultation prior to any testing.
Why Choose Advanced Dermatology?
At Advanced Dermatology, we have been providing professional and high-quality healthcare to the New York and New Jersey communities for over 40 years. If you suspect you have allergies and are experiencing difficulties breathing, let one of our highly qualified allergy specialists help determine the best course of action for you and your healthcare. Call us to schedule a consultation today.