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Asthma and COPD patients may not be tested correctly

For Pennsylvania residents who suffer from asthma or COPD, getting diagnosed as quickly and accurately as possible could prevent their illness from worsening. The diagnosis is made through spirometry tests, which require patients to blow through a machine for as long and as hard as possible. While this test is recommended worldwide, it is often not done until after the initial diagnosis.

According to the lead researcher in a group that is conducting a study on the subject, the problem is that many people who are diagnosed with asthma or COPD may not actually have these disorders. This means that they could be taking medications that they do not need while experiencing unnecessary side effects. Additionally, whatever they are actually suffering from does not get treated, potentially leading to worsening symptoms. In fact, the results of a previous test showed that 65 percent of COPD patients who were seen in a federally qualified health center did not have COPD once they were given a spirometry test.

The ongoing study will include an approach that would rely on those who were trained to facilitate the test in addition to educating patients. Of the 400 test patients, one group will undergo spirometry tests and receive the recommended patient education while the other group will receive regular care.

Patients with asthma, COPD or other lung-related disorders who are not properly diagnosed using the recommended tools available could suffer serious harm. In some cases, the failure to diagnose a disease could constitute medical malpractice, and people who have been harmed in such a manner may want to discuss their options with an attorney.

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