Asthma in the older person

5) Breathing tests to confirm asthma – Spirometry

Man blowing into a spirometer

Man blowing into a spirometer

Asthma can be confused with other illnesses, especially in an older person, so these tests help to confirm an asthma diagnosis:

  • Spirometry – you may be asked to blow into a machine called a spirometer which shows if your airways (or breathing tubes) have become tighter. Sometimes you will be asked to do these tests before and after some puffs of an inhaler to show if your airways have opened up with the inhaler. You will have to blow into the spirometer a few times to get accurate results.The health care professional will show you how to blow into the spirometer and make sure you are ready to do the test.

See how the spirometry test is done (video clip).