To diagnose asthma, your doctor will review your medical history, family history, and symptoms. He or she will be interested in any history of breathing problems you might have had, as well as a family history of asthma or other lung conditions, allergies, or a skin disease called eczema. It is important that you describe your symptoms in detail (coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness), including when and how often they occur.
Your doctor will also perform a physical examination and listen to your heart and lungs.
There are many tests your doctor might perform, including pulmonary function tests, allergy tests, blood tests, and chest and sinus X-rays. All of these tests help your doctor determine if asthma is indeed present and if there are other conditions affecting it.
Pulmonary function tests (or lung function tests) include numerous procedures to diagnose lung problems. The two most common lung function tests used to diagnose asthma are spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide and challenge tests.Item
Ask your doctor if there is anything you need to do to prepare for spirometry.
Before taking a challenge test, be sure to tell your doctor if you have recently had a viral infection, like a cold, or any shots or immunizations, since these might affect the test’s results.
Other general preparations to follow before the test include:
An X-ray is an image of the body that is created by using low doses of radiation reflected on special film or a fluorescent screen. X-rays can be used to diagnose a wide range of conditions, from bronchitis to a broken bone. Your doctor might perform an X-ray exam on you in order to see the structures inside your chest, including the heart, lungs, and bones.
There are some medical conditions that might make asthma harder to treat and control. Two of these conditions are sinusitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called GERD and known as “heartburn.” If you are diagnosed with asthma, your doctor might also test you for these conditions so that they can be treated.
Sinusitis, also called sinus infection, is an inflammation or swelling of the sinuses due to infection. When the sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, bacteria grow, causing infection and inflammation. Your doctor might order a special X-ray, called a CT scan, to evaluate your sinuses if he or she suspects an infection. Once acute sinusitis is diagnosed, you will be treated with antibiotics for at least 10 to 12 days.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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