British Lung Foundation

Lung Function Test - tells you what?

This week I had a lung function test (I suffer from Scleroderma - Connective Tissue Disorder) and although I am coughing badly I can happily report that my lungs are just as they were 4 years ago.

However I picked up one of your leaflets on Asthma and I think that my coughing may be an asthma attack (according to the leaflet that is) BUT during the lung function test they gave me a blue pump which made me feel very light headed, my hands go white with pins and needles, oxygen levels drop, and my heart race. The lady stated that I did not look well. I was sent to my GP but he says I must wait for the results of a chest xray I had 2 weeks ago (also organised by my Rheumataologist) before they do anything. Surely if anything showed up on the Xray they would have reported it by now - meanwhile I'm left in limbo.

Any advice? I could really do with a good nights sleep!

7 Replies

I saw my consultant a week ago and he did a basic lung function test and my lungs had improved to better than they ever been - the results would make you think I had no lung disease (bronchiectasis) but he listened to my chest etc and didn't change any of my drugs of which there a lot! He said that all the tests have to be taken to gether to get a true picture and my lungs sounded full of mucus. It can take ages for all the test results to come through and get the right treatment. Patience is the name of the game.

I hope that you get the results and a diagnose soon.



I've had my cough for 15 years + and has always been put down to the scleroderma. I now belive that what i may have been having is asthma attacks but because the western medical staff are all so specialised none of them seem to consider you as a whole human being so the whole picture is never considered just their bit! and unless it is one fo the conditions for which they get awarded points for diagnosing (and treating) then its not a priority. Oh for the old wise women with their herbal remedies of old.


Hi Ruth462,

No news is good news...........I am a firm believer in that. Keep your chin up and remember that asthma is quite difficult to diagnose. I don't know anything about scleroderma I'm afraid. Having a cough for 15 years though must be annoying, irritating and quite painful at times I'm sure. Is that part of yoour illness?


Not neccessarily but for me , yes. I've had it checked out several times before but each time it is because its got worse rather anyone has ever found a reason/cure for it. I feel as though I have been passed from pillar to post. they blame the scleroderma but the specialist doesn't think it is necessarily the root of the problem.

My husband is also fed up and is threatening to tape me next time (night time attacks last up to an hour) and then make a doctor listen to the whole recording so that they understand how debiliating it has become.


When something serious is found on an x-ray the hospital usually contacts your GP straight away - or perhaps the following day. Well, in my case that's what happened - even although I'd been told before I had the x-ray that it normally takes 7 to 10 days to get the results to the doctor. The fact they haven't done this will hopefully mean that there's nothing too obvious on the x-ray.

My respiratory consultant told me that conditions such as scleroderma and rheumatiod arthritis can lead to interstitial lung disease, which can produce the chronic cough and other symptoms I have - and my abnormal cardiopulmonary function tests and CT scan results. In my case systemic disease has been ruled out by blood tests and I'm still undergoing tests. The consultant says that it could be a case of several things contribution to my overall condition, rather than one thing being the cause.

It all seems to be a process of elimination really. Patience in bucketloads seems to be necessary! :)

Good luck


Thanks - I need to

Keep calm

Breathe deeply

and wait.


That's the thing with lung diseases as there are so many it is a question of elimination. However, it doesn't mean that you cannot be treated for the symptoms you are experiencing. Don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion or be honest and tell your GP how you are feeling, like being passed from pillar to post. GP's can get complacent at times, we all can in our jobs, but they can't afford to be as they are dealing with people lives. A gentle reminder sometimes can do the world of good, with a smile on your face xx


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