The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Tests

Many of the same tests used to diagnose COPD in persons with symptoms of the disease are also used to screen persons without significant symptoms but with important risk factors, such as long-term smoking or exposure to lung irritants. Some groups advocate using simple office spirometry as an initial screening exam for people at higher risk of COPD. Spirometry involves breathing in deeply, then exhaling quickly and fully into a meter device (spirometer) that measures information about lung volume. For details of other tests, see Diagnosis of COPD .

Screening Guidelines

Screening is sometimes recommended for adults who are at increased risk of developing COPD. These people include:

  • Smokers
  • People with asthma
  • People with a strong family history of COPD
  • People with significant occupational exposures to lung irritants