Making a diagnosis

4) Tests

A female patient undergoing a chest x-ray

© Crown Copyright 2009

You should expect to have a chest X Ray, if this has not been done in the past few months and breathing tests. Blood tests play only a minor part – often to rule out other health problems.

With all this information your specialist will decide if your problem is COPD alone, some other condition, or a combination of more than one condition. This will help them decide on the best long term treatment – this is based on evidence from research. There should always be a discussion about stopping smoking if you can or at least reducing the amount you smoke if you have not already realised that this is very important not only for your lungs but also for your general health. You can get lots of help for this, for more information see our section on Help to stop smoking.