What is spirometry testing and why do I need it?
Spirometry is a test of how well your lungs work.The test is carried out using a machine called a spirometer.Spirometry is needed to diagnose and assess your lung condition so you can be given the right treatment. Your doctor can also use the test results to find out how severe your lung condition is and help set your treatment goals.
What happens in a spirometry test?
For this test, you blow air into a mouthpiece attached to a small machine (spirometer). The machine measures how much air you blow out and how fast you can blow it in one go. You may be asked to do this multiple times to check that the readings are similar each time you blow into the machine.
After the test
You can return to your normal activities. Some people find it hard to do the test, so you may feel tired afterwards.Your doctor or nurse will discuss the results of your tests afterwards or at a future appointment.
Asthma Education and Action Plan
Over 2.5 million Australians have asthma – about 1 in 10 adults and about 1 in 9 or 10 children.Asthma and allergies are closely linked. Asthma is more common in families with allergies or asthma, but not everyone with asthma has allergies.
Adults of any age can develop asthma, even if they did not have asthma as a child.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease of the airways – which are the breathing tubes that carry air into our lungs. Sometimes it is harder for a person with asthma to breathe in and out, but at other times their breathing is normal.
It is important to understand that asthma is a long-term (chronic) disease. and although there is currently no cure, with the right knowledge and good management, most people with asthma can lead full and active lives.
The most common symptoms of asthma are:
You do not need to have all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with asthma.
Noisy breathing, such as a rattling sound, is common in healthy babies and preschoolers. This is not the same as wheezing and does not mean the child has asthma.
What is an asthma flare up?
An asthma flare-up is when asthma symptoms start up or get worse compared to usual. The symptoms won’t go away by themselves and need treatment.
These flare-ups can happen quite quickly (e.g. if you are exposed to smoke) but they can also come on gradually over hours or days (e.g. if you get a cold).
The term ‘asthma attack’ is confusing because it means different things to different people – from a bout of wheezing after running for the bus through to being admitted to hospital for asthma.
An asthma flare-up can become serious if not treated properly, even in someone whose asthma is usually mild or well controlled. A severe flare-up needs urgent treatment by a doctor or hospital emergency department.
What is a written asthma action plan?
A written asthma action plan is a set of instructions that helps you recognize worsening asthma and tells you what to do in response. Different action plans suit different people, but all plans should have the same key information.
Your personalized asthma action plan should include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: COPD
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term (chronic) condition that
What causes COPD?
The vast majority of cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis are caused by long-term smoking. In some cases COPD can also result from occupational exposure to dust or chemical fumes. In people who smoke, air pollution can aggravate the symptoms of COPD but air pollution doesn’t appear to cause COPD in non-smokers.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
The symptoms of COPD vary. In mild forms of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, coughing or breathlessness on exertion may be the only symptom. Mild emphysema may not even have any signs to start with. Later on in both conditions you may notice you get short of breath when doing moderate daily activities. You may have frequent coughing and recurrent chest infections or bronchitis.
What can be done?
COPD is a progressive condition and unfortunately there is no cure for it. It also isn’t possible to reverse lung damage that’s already been done. However, your lung function can be improved and your symptoms can be relieved by some self-management options, as advised by your doctor, medications where necessary and special lung exercises.