How do I find out if I have chronic bronchitis?

If you show signs of chronic bronchitis, see your doctor as soon as possible. People often think bronchitis is not serious, but if you wait, your lungs could be seriously injured and you could develop other problems.

To learn whether you have chronic bronchitis, a doctor will conduct a medical exam and ask questions about your health. First the doctor may listen to you breathe using a stethoscope. An X-ray may be taken of your lungs to rule out something like pneumonia. Using a machine called a spirometer, the doctor can test to see how well your lungs work. As you blow into the machine, it measures how much air you exhale (breathe out) and how hard you had to work to exhale it. Other tests may be necessary, such as a blood test to tell how much oxygen the blood contains.

To learn more:

Blood Gases
(Lab Test Online)
This site is sponsored by laboratory professionals to provide the public with information about the different type of tests that health professionals order for their patients. This page explains what a blood gas test is and what it is given for.
Bronchitis: Screening and Diagnosis
The Mayo Clinic explains what your doctor looks for and what tests he may use to find out if you have bronchitis.
(Mayo Clinic)
Provides a description of spirometry, a lung function test used to diagnose asthma and other lung diseases.

next » Questions to ask your doctor about chronic bronchitis.

Written by: Lillian Trettin, Ph.D.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey G. Schultze, M.D.
Last Modified: Thursday October 31, 2019 10:15 AM