Pulmonary Function Testing

Medical Access
Internal Medicine, Primary Care, Urgent Care Centers & Occupational Medicine
located in Germantown, MD, Alexandria, VA & Woodbridge, VA

Shortness of breath can be a symptom of asthma or another serious medical condition. If you’re experiencing shortness of breath or a similar breathing problem, the experienced primary care team at Medical Access can perform a pulmonary function test to determine if treatment can help you breathe more easily. To address your breathing issues, call the Medical Access office in Germantown, Maryland, or in Alexandria and Woodbridge, Virginia, that's most convenient to you today or use the online booking form to schedule a consultation.

Pulmonary Function Testing Q & A

What is a pulmonary function test?

If you’re experiencing shortness of breath or a similar breathing problem, your doctor may recommend a pulmonary function test. 

Sometimes called a lung function test, this test shows whether your lungs are working properly or require treatment to help improve your breathing.

Why is a pulmonary function test performed?

A pulmonary function test measures lung functions, such as how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood and how much air you’re able to take into your lungs, compared with people of the same age, gender, and height.

The doctors at Medical Access perform pulmonary function tests for a number of reasons, including:

  • Identifying the reason for shortness of breath
  • Diagnosing lung diseases, such as bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma
  • Ensuring that medication for a lung condition is working  

The results of your pulmonary function test enable the Medical Access team to ensure you receive the most effective treatment for your breathing problems.

How is a pulmonary function test done?

The most common type of pulmonary function test is spirometry. For this test, you breathe into a mouthpiece attached to a machine that measures both the amount and the speed of air entering and leaving your lungs.

There are several other different types of pulmonary function test, including:

  • Lung diffusion capacity test
  • Bronchial provocation test
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise stress test
  • Pulse oximetry test
  • Arterial blood gas test
  • Fractional exhaled nitric oxide test
  • Plethysmography

Some of these are specialized tests that highlight specific breathing functions. They could involve breathing exercises or inhaling specific substances, or they might use your blood to measure oxygen levels.

Your provider arranges the tests that are most appropriate for your symptoms and their likely cause.

What can I expect during a pulmonary function test?

Most people feel fine during and after the exams, but because you’re asked to breathe quickly at some points, your doctor monitors you closely in case you become dizzy or lightheaded, or you have trouble breathing.

Your doctor may give you a drug called a bronchodilator after some of the tests. The drug opens up your airways so your doctor can see how well your lungs perform with the aid of medication.

Breathing issues don’t have to negatively impact your quality of life. Call Medical Access today or book an appointment online for a pulmonary function test.