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How to Diagnose Asthma

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 04:10 PM

For diagnosing asthma, it is important to answer the following questions:

• Are the attacks recurrent?
• Are the attacks brought on by exposure to dust, pollen, chemicals, fumes, allergens, pets, or climate change?
• Do the attacks occur within 15 minutes of physical activity and do they recede after some rest?
• Is the condition inherited?
• Does the patient experience tightness in the chest?
• Does the patient have a cough and experience wheezing or difficulty in breathing?
• Is there a sharp whistling sound while exhaling?
• Does the coughing worsen at night?

The diagnosis will be based on the answers to these questions. For making the correct diagnosis, the patient’s medical history must be considered and relevant physical examination must be carried out.

One diagnostic test for asthma is Spirometry. Spirometry, like Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR), measures the amount of air exhaled. A blood test (to eliminate other disorders with similar symptoms) and a chest X-ray are helpful in diagnosing asthma. The doctor may recommend further evaluation, such as a lung function test, for asthma diagnosis.

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