How is Asthma Diagnosed?
Testing for Asthma
You or your child suffering with asthma or troubled breathing? Don’t wait!
Here we will discuss the diagnostic process, this may help you to understand the process and allay some fears.
First, we will discuss your medical history with you and perform a physical exam. From there we may move onto a lung function test and maybe other tests, such as a chest or sinus X-ray.
Personal and medical history.
We will ask you questions about your symptoms and the possible causes of those symptoms. If you keep a journal, please bring it along with you. We will ask you about your family history, any medicines you may be taking and talk you you about your job, home and a bit about your lifestyle.
These questions may include:
- Any current physical problems
- Previous medical conditions
- History of allergies or eczema increases your chance of asthma
- Exposure to certain environmental factors
You will undergo a physical exam. We will look at your ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin, chest, lungs and a lung function test. A Lung Function Test detects how well you exhale air from your lungs. We may also order X-rays of your lungs and sinuses. This comprehensive exam allows allows us to review your health and your current physical condition.
What is a Lung function Test?
Lung Function Tests simply measure your breathing that are performed before and after inhaling a medication known as a bronchodilator (bron-co-DIE-a-later) which opens your airways.
If we detect that your lung function improves a lot with use of a bronchodilator, you probably have asthma.
Common Lung Function Tests
During Spirometry, you breathe into a mouthpiece that measures the amount of air you’re able to breathe in and out and its rate of flow. You will take a deep breath and then exhale forcefully.
You will breathe into a small, handheld device to measure the rate at which you can force air out of your lungs. You’ll be asked to breathe in as deeply as you can and then blow into the device as hard and fast as possible. Asthma patients also use a Peak Flow Meter at home to help track their condition.
If your other results are normal, but you’ve been experiencing signs and symptoms of asthma, we may test you with known triggers to provoke a mild reaction. If you don’t have asthma, you won’t react. But if you do have asthma, you likely will develop symptoms.
We may prescribe a trial dosage of medication to see if it helps your condition.
Do We Test for Other Conditions?
If we think you may be affected by something other than asthma we may run other tests.
These might include a chest X-ray, acid reflux test, sinus X-rays or allergy tests*.
*Allergy tests aren’t used to determine if you have asthma. But, if you have allergies, they may be causing your asthma.
Peak Flow Meter
If you have questions, please use this form to contact us. We are happy to answer your questions.