Asthma Diagnosis

Asthma Diagnosis

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    It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age five. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.

    During a checkup, the doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night, and whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will also ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. They will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems, and they will ask questions about your home. The doctor will also ask if you have missed school or work and about any trouble you may have doing certain things.

    The doctor will also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working. The doctor will use a computer with a mouthpiece to test how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath. The spirometer can measure airflow before and after you use asthma medicine.

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    A answered
    The 2007 classification scheme for severity is as follows for age 5 and older:
    • Intermittent - symptoms < 3 days/week, < 3 nighttime awakenings/month, < 3 days/week needing an albuterol inhaler, can do normal activity, normal FEV1 between exacerbations.
    • Mild persistent - symptoms > 2 but < 7 days/week, 3-4 nighttime awakenings/month, > 2 but < 7 days/week needing inhaler, minor limitation with activity, > 80% FEV1.
    • Moderate Persistent - daily symptoms, > 1/week but not nightly nighttime symptoms, daily use of inhaler, some limitation with activity, 75-80% FEV1 (reduced 5% over age 11).
    • Severe Persistent - throughout the day symptoms, often nightly awakenings, use inhaler several times/day, extremely limited activity, < 60% FEV1 (reduced > 5% over age 11). 
    See this site for a quick reference chart:
    http://www.med.umich.edu/1info/fhp/practiceguides/asthma/EPR-3_pocket_guide.pdf
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    1 061 04 Asthma

    An asthma attack feels like you're drowning in air. Watch this video as Dr. Oz explains the physical reactions during an asthma attack.

     


  • 2 Answers
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    A doctor tests for asthma using a pulmonary function test (PFT) and a bronchial challenge test. These tests require you to breathe in and out of a tube. A respiratory therapist oversees the test and coaches you through the steps. You will also be given medication that you breathe in through a nebulizer to see if your breathing improves or worsens. These tests look at your lung function and whether you have signs of airway inflammation.
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    A answered

    If you're newly diagnosed with asthma, your doctor may want to see you every two to six weeks to keep a close eye on your symptoms and optimize your treatment. After that, depending on the frequency and severity of your symptoms, you may need to go as often as once a month or as infrequently as once every six months. Follow the schedule your doctor gives you. And take your asthma diary to every appointment.