Ways & How

how to diagnose asthma

how to diagnose asthma

There are individuals who know how to diagnose asthma by merely looking at the presence of symptoms closely related to asthma. But, according to asthmaabout.com, getting an asthma diagnosis is not really that easy. Even if you are very familiar with the classic symptoms of this disorder, such as wheezing, coughs, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, getting a correct diagnosis is still difficult because these symptoms are general and non-specific. In other words, they may refer to another disease other than asthma. Diagnosing asthma is normally based on the recurrence of symptoms in relation to the patient’s response to therapy. Other than the medical tests that you will undergo, your doctor will ask about your medical history, breathing problems, allergies, skin diseases like eczema as well as the current condition of your lungs. Let us identify the basic medical procedures applicable in detecting asthma.

  1. Spirometry Test. A spirometer machine will be used by your doctor to access any airflow obstruction.

    This breathing test will measure the volume of air you can blow and how quickly you can breathe out air. Usually, your doctor will let you inhale a kind of bronchodilator, such as albuterol, before performing the test. The inhaled bronchodilator will expand your airways, allowing air to pass without obstruction.

    Thereafter, the spirometer will measure the amount of air you can release in a second (forced expiratory volume in a second) and the entire volume of air you released (forced vital capacity). To produce consistent results, you may be required to breathe out again and again. The reading results are then analyzed based on your age bracket’s normal measurements, which can show whether or not your airways are blocked.

  2. Methacholine Challenge Test. This test is commonly administered in adults. If no sign of airways obstruction is seen after the spirometry screening test, this challenge test is recommended. Methacholine is a substance which, when inhaled, makes the airways contract and become narrow. During the test, you will breathe in methacholine aerosol mist. If your lung function decreases by 20 percent, it means the test is positive and asthma is present. After the test, a bronchodilator is normally given to reverse the effects of the substance.

  3. Chest X-ray Test. This test involves the use of low-dose radiation reflected on a fluorescent screen showing the image of the body. Through chest x-rays, the doctor will be able to examine your chest structure, including your bones and lungs. Based on the image of your lungs, your doctor can detect the presence or absence of asthma. Also, x-rays can help diagnose other health conditions like broken bones and bronchitis.

  4. Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) Test. A small, handheld device called a Peak Flow Meter is used in this test. The device, which you can use at home, will help you in measuring your peak flow rates, meaning how quickly you can breathe out air in your lungs. If within three days you notice over 20 percent but below 80 percent diurnal variation, immediately see your doctor.

  5. Allergy Test. Conducting a blood test and skin test is helpful in identifying whether your asthma is linked to a number of allergies, such as pollen, foods and dust mites. Occupational asthma is also possible, especially if you are working in an area exposed to risk factors such as paint sprays. Chemical workers, animal handlers, welders, pastry makers and bakers are usually afflicted by occupational asthma.

Individuals suffering from asthma should understand the necessity of avoiding exposure to triggering factors and allergens, as well as the correct use of prescribed medications. After successfully diagnosing that you have asthma, you should create a specific and customized plan that will help you monitor and manage the symptoms. If anyone in the family is manifesting symptoms like yours, share these medical examinations on how to diagnose asthma correctly.


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