Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Asthma Diagnosis

Diagnosis of asthma is necessary to determine the appropriate treatment of asthma according to the severity of the condition. It is a very challenging process because sometimes the signs might not be clear and some disease are similar to the symptoms of asthma which makes difficult in a thorough diagnosis. The process includes family gathering and medical history, a physical examination and different test results.

Prior to your visit to the doctor, observe carefully and remember when the signs and symptoms appear, whether it is morning or night. Also take notice while you are exercising or at work, what months of the year and also how severe your symptoms are and other significant details. This will assist you to answer your doctor’s questions as accurately as possible to determine the treatment accordingly.

Asthma diagnosis – Spirometry:

Spirometry is an important test for asthma diagnosis as it is used to check how well the lungs function. A spirometer is used to measure inhalations and exhalations. When exhaling, the air should be expelled forcefully. If there is an obstruction in the air flow, that is a sign of asthma.

Asthma diagnosis – Peak flow rate measurement:

Peak flow rate measurement is a test where a peak flow meter is used to check the lung capacity. A deep breath is taken and then blown out hard into the meter. These device can also be used at home, to monitor the management of asthma.

Asthma diagnosis – Methacholine challenge test:

Methacholine challenge test consist of taking an agent (Methacholine) which causes the airways to narrow down if asthma is present in the body. After this has been done, spirometry may be used to measure the air flow and volume.

Asthma diagnosis – Chest X-Ray:

If the asthma treatment has no improvement or in certain cases another illness is present or suspected for example pneumonia, then a Chest X-Ray is necessary. With an X-Ray the lungs are fully visible and the problems can be easily identified. 

Allergy tests are utilized to identify which allergies causes the asthma symptoms.

During the process of asthma diagnosis, it is important to ensure that no other condition is causing the symptom, for instance as sinusitis or gastroesophageal reflux disease because they too have very similar signs as asthma. Only necessary tests are used and this depends on each case individually.

As it is known, there are four types of asthma classified by severity that is mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent and severe persistent, asthma diagnosis is important and necessary to determine the severity of the condition and recommendation of the right treatment.