How to Diagnose Asthma
How to Diagnose Asthma
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Luke Webb M.D.
Treatment of asthma can only begin once a diagnosis has been confirmed and the severity has been assessed. Often it is necessary to see an asthma specialist in order to obtain a firm diagnosis and explore the full range of treatments, such as the services that are provided by Asthma and Allergy Associates in Pueblo, Canon City and Colorado Springs. If you have had a serious or life threatening asthma attack or suffer from other allergic diseases, then help beyond that of your primary care physician may be recommended.
An asthma diagnosis typically relies on such factors as the history of asthma in your family, an in-depth review of your symptoms, a physical examination and a series of tests designed specifically to identify and evaluate asthma. Once the diagnosis is made, proper treatment is based primarily upon the severity and frequency of your symptoms, thereby making an accurate diagnosis and thorough evaluation essential.
To make a diagnosis your doctor may want to know such things as whether your breathing problems tend to occur at certain times, such as at night. It is also useful to know the setting in which the problems occur, as this can provide clues as to what environmental conditions may lead to your symptoms. Certain non-breathing related problems can also be contributing factors, such as stress, depression, allergies, sinus conditions and sleep disorders.
There are a wide array of diagnostic tests that are potentially useful in identifying and evaluating asthma. One of the most common is a lung function test, known as spirometry, which helps determine how well your lungs work overall. This test can provide a baseline against which abnormal breathing events can be measured and helps to determine the effectiveness of treatments like medication. The evaluation may also include testing for allergens, airway sensitivity, and x-rays to look for obstructions.
A special category of asthma testing involves the evaluation of wheezing as a possible sign of asthma in children. Warning signs may be one or both parents having asthma, the child having allergic skin conditions, food allergies or shortness of breath in the absence of a cold. It can be somewhat more difficult to diagnose asthma in children and to treat their asthma symptoms.
Whatever your symptoms, the asthma specialists at Asthma and Allergy Associates are ready to help you diagnose asthma and advise you how to successfully develop an action plan for the treatment of asthma. If necessary, be sure to ask your doctor for a referral to the asthma clinic at Asthma and Allergy Associates to see what our expert asthma physicians can do for you.