Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD): How It Can Help You

adc-egd

An EGD is a procedure in which a physician uses an endoscope (small scope or tube with a camera on one end) to look at the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum (small intestine).

Why Should You Have an EGD?
This procedure may help determine the cause of gastrointestinal abnormalities of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

WHAT INDICATORS DO I NEED TO CONSIDER? WHAT DISEASES OR ILLNESSES CAN BE FOUND?
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting/Vomiting blood
  • Non-cardiac chest pain
  • Burning in chest or throat
  • Vomiting blood
  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Barretts Disease
  • Celiac Sprue
  • Esophageal Varices
  • Ulcers in the stomach or esophagus

Endoscope
Thin flexible instrument used to visualize the inside of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. It contains a small camera with a light on the end to videotape images. If necessary, your physician will be able to collect a biopsy (small growths and tissue samples) through this instrument.

Preparation
Your physician or nurse will give you instructions on preparing for this procedure. Please call your physician if you were unable to complete your prep. It may be necessary that your test be re-scheduled.
You will also receive instructions on which foods or liquids you may eat or drink prior to the procedure. You may be asked to stay on liquids 1-2 days before your scheduled procedure – For your safety, you will be asked to stop eating or drinking any food or liquids at least 4 hours prior to the procedure.
IMPORTANT: Please tell us in advance if your health history has changed in any way since you last saw your GI physician.

Upon Admission

  • Your nurse will take your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs
  • You will be asked about pain of any kind
  • Your nurse will go over all of the forms that will need to be filled out
  • Your medications and allergies to medications will be reviewed
  • An IV will be started
  • An assessment will be complete

The Procedure

  • Monitors will be placed on you in order that we may monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
  • You will be placed on a small amount of oxygen through a nasal cannula.
    Medications will be given by physicians orders throughout the procedure (medications most commonly used are Demerol; Versed; Fentanyl; and Phenergan). Please notify your nurse if you are allergic to any of these medications.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, remove polyps or perform treatment during the procedure (specimens will be sent for testing and your physicians office will call you with the results).
  • The procedure will usually take an average of 30-45 minutes.
    We require that the person accompanying you remain at the Center during your procedure and to drive you home after your procedure. If you have any valuables with you, we will ask that you give them to the person accompanying you. Remember to ask any questions that you may have at any time.

We require that the person accompanying you remain at the Center during your procedure and to drive you home after your procedure. If you have any valuables with you, we will ask that you give them to the person accompanying you. Remember to ask any questions that you may have at any time.

Recovery
You will remain in recovery for at least 30 minutes. The nurse will take your temperature, vital signs and do an assessment and the physician will talk to you about your procedure. If appropriate, you will then be given fluids to drink.

Discharge Instructions
Discharge instructions will be reviewed with you and the person accompanying you and will include all of the following:

  • Do not operate machinery or heavy equipment for 24 hour
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours
  • Drink plenty of other fluids
  • Avoid any foods that are greasy or spicy for the first meal
  • Call your physician if you experience severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or bleeding.

You may be very sleepy at the time of discharge. You are encouraged to go home and rest for the rest of the day. Any special instructions from your physician will be written on the discharge sheet. Your physician will determine if follow-up is needed. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Colonoscopy: It’s Not as Scary as You Think

adc-colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a procedure which allows a physician to look at the interior lining of the large intestine through a high-resolution video camera called a colonoscope.

Why Should I have a Colonoscopy?
This procedure may help find polyps, colon disease, ulcers, areas of inflammation or bleeding and causes of diarrhea. A colonoscopy is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and/or rectum.
*According to the American Cancer Society, one of the most powerful weapons in preventing colorectal cancer is through colorectal screening or testing. People who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening for colon and rectal cancer at the age of 50. Those who have a family history or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer need to talk with their doctor about starting screening at a younger age and more frequent intervals.

WHAT INDICATORS DO I NEED TO CONSIDER?

WHAT DISEASES OR ILLNESSES CAN BE FOUND?

  • Rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Abdominal pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Colitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Diverticulosis


Colonscope
Thin flexible instrument used to visualize the inside of your rectum and colon. It can be used to collect a biopsy (small growths and tissue samples) and contains a small camera with a light on the end to videotape and capture images.

Preparation
You will be required to take a prep to clean the bowels prior to the procedure. Your physician or nurse will give you instructions on the type of prep you are to take. The prep will cause you to have multiple bowel movements and result in liquid stools.

Important: Please call your physician if you were unable to complete your prep. It may be necessary that your test be re-scheduled.
You will also receive instructions on which foods or liquids you may eat or drink prior to the procedure. You may be asked to stay on liquids 1-2 days before your scheduled procedure.
For your safety, you will be asked to stop eating or drinking any food or liquids at least 4 hours prior to the procedure.

Important: Please tell us in advance if your health history has changed in any way since you last saw your GI physician.

Upon Admission

  • Your nurse will take your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs
  • You will be asked about pain of any kind
  • Your nurse will go over all of the forms that will need to be filled out
  • Your medications and allergies to medications will be reviewed
  • An IV will be started
  • An assessment will be completed

The Procedure

  • Monitors will be placed on you in order that we may monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
  • You will be placed on a small amount of oxygen through a nasal cannula.
  • Medications will be given by physicians orders throughout the procedure (medications most commonly used are Demerol; Versed; Fentanyl; and Phenergan). Please notify your nurse if you are allergic to any of these medications.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, remove polyps or perform treatment during the procedure (specimens will be sent for testing and your physicians office will call you with the results).
  • The procedure will usually take an average of 30-45 minutes
  • Recovery time may vary between 2-3 hours

We require that the person accompanying you remain at the Center during your procedure and to drive you home after your procedure. If you have any valuables with you, we will ask that you give them to the person accompanying you. Remember to ask any questions that you may have at any time.

Recovery
You will remain in recovery for at least 30 minutes. The nurse will take your temperature, vital signs and do an assessment and your physician will talk to you about your procedure. If appropriate, you will then be given fluids to drink.

Discharge
Discharge instructions will be reviewed with you and the person accompanying you and will include all of the following:

  • Do not operate machinery or heavy equipment for 24 hours
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours
  • Drink plenty of other fluids
  • Avoid any foods that are greasy or spicy for the first meal
  • Call your physician if you experience severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or bleeding.

You may be very sleepy at the time of discharge. You are encouraged to go home and rest for the rest of the day. Any special instructions from your physician will be written on the discharge sheet. Your physician will determine if follow-up is needed.

What to Expect: Sleep Study

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The National Commission on Sleep Disorders estimate that millions of Americans are needlessly suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed sleep disorders. Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to increased health risks and an overall lower quality of life. There are numerous sleep disorders from which people suffer. Some symptoms of a sleep disorder can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Constant leg movement
  • Gasping episodes at night
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth, sore throat
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of energy

The Sleep Disorders Center at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is a comprehensive clinic supervised by a physician board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and is a Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study may involve the following: Polysomnogram (PSG) – a diagnostic test which monitors brain activity, breathing and leg movements which helps to evaluate sleep apnea (obstruction of air flow) or a condition known as periodic leg movements of sleep. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) – a daytime sleep study which evaluates how fast a person falls asleep.

What to Expect?

The first step will be an initial visit with our sleep specialist who will review your medical and sleep history. You will then schedule an appointment for an overnight visit. To help determine if a sleep disorder exists, your physician will need to know what physiologic changes occur during your typical night of sleep. We do this by recording your brainwave pattern (known as the EEG) as well as your eye movements and degree of muscle tone. Using an EKG monitor, we will measure your heart rate and check for irregular heart beats during the night. Other measurements will include oxygen saturation, snoring, leg movements or jerking and respiratory effort. An intercom in the room will allow communication with the technician should you have any questions or require assistance. Studies will usually begin between 8:00pm and 9:30 pm and will conclude at about 6am. You will then follow up with your physician who will make recommendations for treatment of the disorder.

How to Prepare?

In order to feel more comfortable with your stay, feel free to bring your toiletries and usual sleepwear and if you prefer, your own pillow. (It is helpful to avoid using hair products or skin lotions on the night of the study). It is recommended that you eat a meal prior to your study and continue to take medications as prescribed (unless your physician specifies otherwise). It is also preferred that you not consume foods or beverages containing caffeine after 5pm.

Using the latest technology for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere, our team of sleep professionals is dedicated to providing the highest quality of sleep for our patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

Traveling for the Holidays: Things to Remember

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Whether traveling for business or pleasure, most people do not think about the possibility of acquiring a travel-related illness. In fact, travel in undeveloped countries and many foreign or tropical countries outside of resort areas, does entail some risks for acquiring local or travel-related diseases.

The Travel Clinic at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is available to assist you with problems in this regard. We have a full-service clinic with disease-prevention strategies, information, vaccinations and medications available for travel essentially anywhere in the world. The travel clinic at ADC is supervised by Dr. Taylor Carlisle, a board certified Infection Disease specialist trained in Tropical Medicine and Public Health.

Staying Healthy When You Travel

If you are planning to take your family overseas for a vacation, or maybe you’re going on a mission trip with your church, Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic encourages you to take precautions prior to your trip. Our travel clinic not only provides immunizations, but also provides pre-travel counseling and post-travel health evaluations. It is recommended that you see your physician 6 to 8 weeks prior to your departure and then again; after your trip if you experience unusual health issues. Remember, it is easier to take precautions in preventing overseas illnesses than it is to treat them. Call Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic today and let our travel clinic staff assist you in planning for a healthy overseas adventure.

New Area, New Illness

People are basically the same no matter where you travel, but the diseases and illnesses can be very different.

The bacteria and germs that live in one country can be very different from those of another region. That’s why lots of people get sick when they travel – they don’t have natural immunity to these germs (or put another way, their bodies haven’t yet learned how to defend themselves against these new, potentially health-threatening invaders). A common example of this is ” traveler’s diarrhea,” which often occur when visitors drink tap water while away. Ever notice how the locals don’t suffer from this malady? That’s because they have natural immunity to the bacteria that are present in their water and you don’t.

Flu Season

Most people do find themselves getting sick while traveling, especially now that it’s flu season. For most, your illness will require a quick trip to the doctor and some antibiotics or anti-parasite medication. However, if you want to be ahead of the game then be sure to get a flu vaccination. Flu symptoms include the following:

  • body chills/aches
  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • runny nose

Finally…

It’s important to keep you and your family as healthy as possible during the holiday season. By getting the proper vaccination, you could be saving yourself a lot of time and money in the long-run. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

There Could Be a Reason Behind Your Headache

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Some information provided by Medline Plus.

The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don’t get enough sleep, miss meals, or use alcohol.

Types of Headaches

  • Migraine headaches
    • Pain may be generalized, or on one side or both sides of the head
    • Can cause mood swings, fatigue, food craving, nausea, vomiting or vertigo
    • May also cause visual disturbances or sensitivity to light and sound, flashing lights or floaters
    • Usually last 4-72 hours
  • Tension headaches
    • Usually occur at the base of your head and is usually on both sides of your head
    • Dull, vice-like pressure around the head
    • Can be triggered by stress or muscle tension, poor ergonomics or body mechanics
    • Can be intermittent and lasting throughout the day
  • Cluster headaches
    • Pain may affect the eye, temple, face and/or neck areas
    • Sudden and excruciating pain that can happen at night waking you up from sleep
    • May be accompanied with a runny nose on one side or nasal stuffiness
    • May cause watering in one eye
    • Can occur at the same time for several days
  • Chronic daily headaches
    • Daily or nearly daily headache for more than 3 months
  • Medication overuse headaches
    • Use of an analgesic more than 3 times weekly for more than 3 months
  • Sinus Headache
    • Pain or pressure occurring behind the brow bone or cheek bone
    • Often accompanied with nasal or sinus congestion
    • Ear fullness

Other Less Common Types of Headaches

Some headaches originate from the neurological system:

  • Post traumatic headaches
    Concussion
    Brain injury
  • Tumors and other causes of increased intracranial pressure
    Pseudotumor cerebral (too much fluid in the brain compartment)
    Subdural hematoma (blood outside the brain but putting pressure on the brain)
  • Cervical spine disorders

Some headaches originate from causes outside the neurological system such as:

  • Fever
  • Hypertension
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep apnea

When to Seek Treatment

  • Sudden onset of excruciating pain
  • First or worst headache of your life
  • Worsening pattern of headaches
  • Fever associated with a headache
  • Rapid onset of headache with strenuous exercise
  • Any change in mental status or level of consciousness
  • New headache in patients under 5 or over 50

Clinical Services Available

  • MRI
  • Lab

Treatment Options

  • Medication to prevent or relieve the pain
  • Physical therapy referrals
  • Botox therapy
  • Occipital nerve blocks

Not all headaches require a doctor’s attention. But sometimes headaches warn of a more serious disorder. Let us know if you have sudden, severe headaches. Get medical help right away if you have a headache after a blow to your head, or if you have a headache along with a stiff neck, fever, confusion, loss of consciousness, or pain in the eye or ear. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.

Why You Should Have a Colonoscopy

adc-colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a procedure which allows a physician to look at the interior lining of the large intestine through a high-resolution video camera called a colonoscope.
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A COLONOSCOPY?
This procedure may help find polyps, colon disease, ulcers, areas of inflammation or bleeding and causes of diarrhea. A colonoscopy is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and/or rectum.
*According to the American Cancer Society, one of the most powerful weapons in preventing colorectal cancer is through colorectal screening or testing. People who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening for colon and rectal cancer at the age of 50. Those who have a family history or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer need to talk with their doctor about starting screening at a younger age and more frequent intervals.

WHAT INDICATORS DO I NEED TO CONSIDER?

WHAT DISEASES OR ILLNESSES CAN BE FOUND?

  • Rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Abdominal pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Colitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Diverticulosis


COLONOSCOPE
Thin flexible instrument used to visualize the inside of your rectum and colon. It can be used to collect a biopsy (small growths and tissue samples) and contains a small camera with a light on the end to videotape and capture images.

PREPARATION
You will be required to take a prep to clean the bowels prior to the procedure. Your physician or nurse will give you instructions on the type of prep you are to take. The prep will cause you to have multiple bowel movements and result in liquid stools.

IMPORTANT: Please call your physician if you were unable to complete your prep. It may be necessary that your test be re-scheduled.
You will also receive instructions on which foods or liquids you may eat or drink prior to the procedure. You may be asked to stay on liquids 1-2 days before your scheduled procedure.
For your safety, you will be asked to stop eating or drinking any food or liquids at least 4 hours prior to the procedure.

UPON ADMISSION

  • Your nurse will take your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs
  • You will be asked about pain of any kind
  • Your nurse will go over all of the forms that will need to be filled out
  • Your medications and allergies to medications will be reviewed
  • An IV will be started
  • An assessment will be completed

THE PROCEDURE

  • Monitors will be placed on you in order that we may monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
  • You will be placed on a small amount of oxygen through a nasal cannula.
  • Medications will be given by physicians orders throughout the procedure (medications most commonly used are Demerol; Versed; Fentanyl; and Phenergan). Please notify your nurse if you are allergic to any of these medications.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, remove polyps or perform treatment during the procedure (specimens will be sent for testing and your physician’s office will call you with the results).
  • The procedure will usually take an average of 30-45 minutes
  • Recovery time may vary between 2-3 hours

We require that the person accompanying you remain at the Center during your procedure and to drive you home after your procedure. If you have any valuables with you, we will ask that you give them to the person accompanying you. Remember to ask any questions that you may have at any time.

RECOVERY
You will remain in recovery for at least 30 minutes. The nurse will take your temperature, vital signs and do an assessment and your physician will talk to you about your procedure. If appropriate, you will then be given fluids to drink.

DISCHARGE
Discharge instructions will be reviewed with you and the person accompanying you and will include all of the following:

  • Do not operate machinery or heavy equipment for 24 hours
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours
  • Drink plenty of other fluids
  • Avoid any foods that are greasy or spicy for the first meal
  • Call your physician if you experience severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or bleeding.

You may be very sleepy at the time of discharge. You are encouraged to go home and rest for the rest of the day. Any special instructions from your physician will be written on the discharge sheet. Your physician will determine if follow-up is needed.

Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.

To All The Ladies: Your Unique Healthcare

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Some information provided by the National Institute of Health.

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic offers health services that exclusively focuses on women and their life transitions. ADC offers gender-specific medicine simply because women and men experience health and disease differently. HerCare offers a variety of different Woman’s health solutions including:

  • Sexual health including sexual dysfunction
  • Preoperative risk assessment
  • Cardiovascular risk profile and prevention
  • Midlife hormone management therapy
  • Osteoporosis and treatments including Bisphosphonate alternatives
  • Vulvar diseases
  • Well-woman exams

Gender Specific Science

It’s no secret that there are vast differences in reproductive health between men and women, however, there are also several other ways that men’s health differs from women’s. For example, men and women both experience different symptoms for the same medical problem. Men are also at higher risk of developing certain conditions, such as toxic occupational exposure, and women are at higher risk of developing others, such as osteoporosis, or thinning bones. Because there are differences in men’s and women’s health, different approaches are sometimes taken to prevent and treat various health conditions.

Women’s Health

Did you know that studies have shown that women live longer than men? Women live an average of 5 years longer, but they tend to be “sicker” than men. Despite a longer lifespan, there are conditions that might affect women primarily or more severely than men. For example, almost 12% of women in the United States are at risk for developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of existing breast cancer cases. Certain health issues and their different effects on women are listed below:

  • Alcohol abuse: While men are more likely to become dependent on, or addicted to, alcohol than women are throughout their lifetime, the health effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism (when someone shows signs of addiction to alcohol) are more serious in women.
  • Heart disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although heart disease is also the leading cause of death for men in the United States, women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men are.
  • Mental health: Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men are.
  • Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States. The condition affects almost 27 million people, and affects more women than men.
  • Reproductive health: Women are able to carry and deliver babies.
  • Urinary tract health: Women are more likely than men are to experience urinary tract problems. For example, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men due to the way the female urinary tract is structured.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: The effect of STDs/STIs on women can be more serious than on men. Untreated STDs/STIs cause infertility in at least 24,000 women each year in the United States.
  • Stress: According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, stress is on the rise for women. Women are more likely to report having stress, and almost 50% of all women in the survey, compared to 39% of the men, reported that their stress had increased over the past 5 years.
  • Stroke: More women than men suffer a stroke each year.

Women and men experience health and disease differently, which is why “Her Care” matters. Take control of your health today! Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.

Your Type Of Headache: How We Can Help

adc-headache-center

Some information provided by the Mayo Clinic.

It’s common for people to experience headaches from time to time. However, if you have a headache more days than not, you may be experiencing chronic daily headaches. The incessant nature of chronic daily headaches makes them among the most disabling headaches. The Headache Center offers treatment that may reduce pain and lead to fewer headaches. Some headaches are mild and nagging while others can be severe and debilitating. Headache pain can lead to:

  • Lost time at work
  • Poor job performance
  • Missed time with family and friends

By definition, chronic daily headaches occur 15 days or more a month, for at least three months. True (primary) chronic daily headaches aren’t caused by another condition. Headaches can be frustrating and difficult to treat and can be caused by a number of issues including:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Food allergies

Types of Headaches

  • Migraine headaches
    Pain may be generalized, or on one side or both sides of the head
    Can cause mood swings, fatigue, food craving, nausea, vomiting or vertigo
    May also cause visual disturbances or sensitivity to light and sound, flashing lights or floaters
    Usually last 4-72 hours
  • Tension headaches
    Usually occurs at the base of your head and is usually on both sides of your head
    Dull, vice-like pressure around the head
    Can be triggered by stress or muscle tension, poor ergonomics or body mechanics
    Can be intermittent and lasting throughout the day
  • Cluster headaches
    Pain may affect the eye, temple, face and/or neck areas
    Sudden and excruciating pain that can happen at night waking you up from sleep
    May be accompanied with a runny nose on one side or nasal stuffiness
    May cause watering in one eye
    Can occur at the same time for several days
  • Chronic daily headaches
    Daily or nearly daily headache for more than 3 months
  • Medication overuse headaches
    Use of an analgesic more than 3 times weekly for more than 3 months
  • Sinus Headache
    Pain or pressure occurring behind the brow bone or cheek bone
    Often accompanied with nasal or sinus congestion
    Ear fullness

Treatment

You should seek treatment if:

  • Sudden onset of excruciating pain
  • First or worst headache of your life
  • Worsening pattern of headaches
  • Fever associated with a headache
  • Rapid onset of headache with strenuous exercise
  • Any change in mental status or level of consciousness
  • New headache in patients under 5 or over 50

Your doctor will likely examine you for signs of illness, infection or neurological problems. He or she will ask about your headache history. If the cause of your headaches remains uncertain, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, to look for an underlying medical condition. If you think you might be experiencing signs of chronic headaches or if you have any questions, contact us.

It’s time to take control of your health. Contact us if you think you might be experiencing signs of chronic headaches or if you have any questions.

Taking Care of Your Lung Health: Pulmonary Function Testing

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Some information provided by Medicine Plus.

Pulmonary function tests measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air.  It also helps to determine how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.  This test is helpful in diagnosing certain types of lung disorders such as asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How The Test Is Performed

By measuring how much air you exhale, and how quickly you exhale, spirometry can evaluate a broad range of lung diseases. In a spirometry test, while you are sitting, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. The spirometer records the amount and the rate of air that you breathe in and out over a period of time. When standing, some numbers might be slightly different.

For some of the test measurements, you can breathe normally and quietly. Other tests require forced inhalation or exhalation after a deep breath. Sometimes, you will be asked to inhale a different gas or a medicine to see how it changes your test results.

Lung volume measurement can be done in two ways:

  • The most accurate way is called body plethysmography. You sit in a clear airtight box that looks like a phone booth. The technologist asks you to breathe in and out of a mouthpiece. Changes in pressure inside the box help determine the lung volume.
  • Lung volume can also be measured when you breathe nitrogen or helium gas through a tube for a certain period of time. The concentration of the gas in a chamber attached to the tube is measured to estimate the lung volume.

How to Prepare For the Test

If you’re on medications that open your airways, such as those used for asthma or bronchitis, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them before the test. If it isn’t clear whether or not you should take your medication, make sure to ask your doctor. Pain medications may also affect the results of the test. It may be suggested that you do not eat a heavy meal before the test. If you’re a smoker, do not smoke 4-6 hours before the test. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands – you will get specific instructions before the test is performed.

Why the Test is Performed

Pulmonary function tests are done to:

  • Diagnose certain types of lung disease, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Find the cause of shortness of breath
  • Measure whether exposure to chemicals at work affects lung function
  • Check lung function before someone has surgery
  • Assess the effect of medication
  • Measure progress in disease treatment

Results

Normal values are different from person-to-person. The differences are based on your age, height, ethnicity, and gender. Normal results are expressed as a percentage. A value is usually considered abnormal if it is approximately less than 80% of your predicted value.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results. Abnormal results could potentially mean that you may have chest or lung disease. Some lung diseases (such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and infections) can make the lungs contain too much air and take longer to empty. These lung diseases are called obstructive lung disorders. Other lung diseases make the lungs scarred and smaller so that they contain too little air and are poor at transferring oxygen into the blood. Examples of these types of illnesses include:

  • Extreme overweight
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring or thickening of the lung tissue)
  • Sarcoidosis and scleroderma

Muscular weakness can also cause abnormal test results, even if the lungs are normal, that is similar to the diseases that cause smaller lungs.

After your test is completed, your healthcare provider will talk with you about your test results. It’s time to take control of your health and get tested. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Good Sleep – Healthy Heart

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Sleep is a time of rest for the entire body. Even the heart, which works day and night, naturally slows down during sleep. That’s why unhealthy heart function can deprive the body of restful sleep. Yet, the relationship between heart function and sleep works both ways. For instance, sleep-related breathing disorders have been shown to play a major role in causing several types of heart and blood vessel disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Many things can be done to maintain a healthy heart: eat a nutritional diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, get regular medical check-ups, and get adequate amounts of good quality sleep. If you have any kind of heart condition, it is especially to watch signs that you may have a sleep related breathing disorder, such as OSA, which could stress your heart.

Breathing Disorders And The Heart

People with OSA are often overweight and experience loud snoring, gasping or choking episodes while sleeping, as well as trouble staying awake during the daytime. If you already have hypertension or cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, stroke), talk with your healthcare professional about whether or not you may have a sleep and breathing disorder, such as OSA or CSA. It is also important that patients with congestive heart failure be monitored for CSA and other sleep disorders. In contrast to people with OSA, those with heart failure and CSA are commonly thin and may not snore at all. If your healthcare professional thinks that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may suggest you have a diagnostic test, called a sleep study, or refer you to a sleep medicine specialist. Sleep studies are usually done in a sleep laboratory. Small sensors called electrodes are attached to your body to measure your sleep, breathing heart rate and oxygen level. The sleep specialist will be able to determine whether you have any abnormalities in the quality of your sleep. Your healthcare professional is then given the results and the two of you can decide on the best course of treatment. Sleep disorders are treatable, and treatment can lead to a more healthy heart.

How To Sleep Well

  • Get up about the same time every day.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Vigorous exercise should be confined to the early part of the day, light exercise should take place at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Maintain a regular schedule.
  • Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Try to nap at the same time every day; mid-afternoon is best for most people.
  • Never combine sleeping pills and alcohol.

Sleep isn’t just a “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. If you’re failing to get a good night’s sleep, contact us to schedule an appointment or answer any questions.