How is COPD diagnosed
It is recommended that smokers over the age of 40 get regular check ups with their Healthcare professional in order to check for possible chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, regardless whether they have symptoms or not.
The diagnosis: a functional respiratory exam
Diagnosis is made through a functional respiratory examination, including measurement of respiratory capacity using a spirometer even before symptoms appear.
The measurement of respiration through the spirometer allows defining the volume and flow of air mobilised by respiratory movements. It involves blowing hard and fast into a machine that measures your lung capacity. This is the total amount of air you can breathe out and also how quickly you can empty your lungs.
Combined with other parameters, such as the frequency of exacerbation episodes, this measurement of breathing identifies stages I through IV in the development of COPD.