Understand how COPD is diagnosed

COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is characterized by airflow limitation, generated by inflammation in response to inhaled toxins, such as cigarette smoke. In people over 40 years of age, regardless of whether they are smokers or have symptoms, the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) recommends in its guide to COPD care that the doctor, through his auscultation of the bronchi and lungs, check for possible disease. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The diagnosis: A functional respiratory exam

To diagnose COPD, it is necessary to review the patient's history, perform physical exams, chest X-ray and pulmonary function test. 

One of the required tests is the functional respiratory, which includes the measurement of respiratory capacity, with the use of a spirometer even before symptoms appear. The device allows you to define the volume and flow of air mobilized by respiratory movements. 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.

Some symptoms are characteristic of the disease and may indicate the diagnosis, such as: asthma, heart failure and bronchiectasis. One of the difficulties of diagnosis is the similarity between asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Some diseases can lead to COPD, such as: HIV, bronchiolitis obliterans and eosinophilic granuloma. 

To confirm the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it is important to perform a pulmonary function test. This exam is also used to monitor the disease and track its progress.

The treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) consists of reducing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease.