Oct 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diease (COPD) Can Be Detected Early By Q And A And Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) Meter; American Thoracic Society Explains

By Paula

Researchers found out that they can diagnose patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), with a simple Q and A and Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) meter.

The American Thoracic Society explained that they hope their study can help in the early detection of the disease. They believe that if the disease is detected early, they can improve the life of the patients.

James Kiley from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute explained that the researchers created a simple tool for the early detection of COPD patients. The researchers hope to that by detecting the early stages of COPD they can give treatments to improve the disease, Science Daily reported.

Through their study, they found out that there's a simple approach primary care personnel can identify COPD patients. They explained that the patients must first complete the COPD Assessment in Primary Care To Identify Undiagnosed Respiratory Disease and Exacerbation Risk (CAPTURETM).

The patients answered five questions to assess their smoke and pollution exposure, breathing problems and respiratory illnesses. Those who are considered as high-risk patients for COPD was then directed to answer a definitive diagnostic test.

Patients who had few symptoms were not subjected to further testing but, patients who were in the middle range had a simple PEF test. The researchers explained that they tested men who exhale less than 350 liters/minute and women who exhale less than 250 liters/minute, Newswise reported.

They answered questions like have you ever lived or worked in a place with dirty of polluted air, smoke, second-hand smoke or dust, and does your breathing change with the season, weather or air quality?

A patient must also answer this following questions: Does your breathing make it difficult to do things such as carry heavy loads, shovel dirt or snow, jog, play tennis, or swim? Compared to others your age, do you tire easily? In the past 12 months, how many times did you miss work, school, or other activities due to a cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia?

The researchers do warn the public that their study is just case finding. It still needs further validation to be considered for medical diagnostics and screenings.

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