How Is Asthma Diagnosed?

How Is Asthma Diagnosed?

Asthma is a common problem, impacting approximately 1 in 13 Americans. While it affects both adults and children, it’s the leading chronic disease for people under 18.

When you have asthma, your airways swell, grow narrow, and sometimes produce more mucus than normal. These respiratory changes can make it difficult to breathe, leading to symptoms that include:

Asthma symptoms vary in severity and occur because of different triggers. As a result, it’s crucial to get an accurate diagnosis to keep your symptoms under control.

Our Advanced Allergy & Asthma team in Ogden, Utah, specializes in diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions, including allergies and asthma — two closely linked problems. If you think you have asthma, here’s how we can help reach a diagnosis.

Personal and medical history

The first step in reaching a diagnosis involves discussing your symptoms and when they occur. This can help identify potential triggers and the severity of your reactions to them. 

You can experience asthma flare-ups for numerous reasons. However, you’re more likely to have asthma if you or a family member have a history of allergies or eczema. The most common causes of allergic asthma involve reactions to substances in the air, like pet dander, pollen, mold spores, or cockroach waste. 

Other asthma triggers can include:

Documenting when your symptoms occur, along with their duration and severity, can offer insights into your condition.

Physical exam and lung tests

Next, we perform a physical exam and lung function tests. Lung function tests assess how well you exhale air from your lungs. When diagnosing asthma, we usually use a spirometry test.

A spirometry test is completely painless. During this screening, you take a deep breath and blow into a mouthpiece as hard and fast as possible. The mouthpiece is connected to a spirometer or laptop and measures three vital components, including:

You may have to repeat the test multiple times to provide conclusive results, including reduced lung function or asthma.

Confirming your diagnosis

If your spirometry test indicates asthma, we administer a bronchodilator. This medication opens your airways. After waiting for the medication to work, we perform the lung function test again to see if your lung function improves.

When a bronchodilator helps with your lung function, you likely have asthma. At this point, we create an initial treatment strategy and watch you closely during a trial period to see if it helps your symptoms. We could also recommend allergy tests if we suspect allergens are triggering or worsening your asthma symptoms.

There is no cure for asthma. However, the right management strategies can keep your symptoms under control and prevent asthma-related breathing issues. 

To learn more about asthma testing and treatment, contact Advanced Allergy & Asthma by calling or requesting an appointment online today.

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