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Asthma Health Center

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Diagnosing Asthma

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Diagnosing Asthma and Your Doctor continued...

1. Can you describe your asthma symptoms?

(Check the following asthma signs and symptoms that apply to you)

____Shortness of breath

____Wheezing, possibly triggered by allergies, a cold, sinus infection, or bronchitis

____Frequent cough or just coughing at night

____Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out

____Rapid breathing

____Chest pain or pressure

____Difficulty talking

____Feelings of anxiety or panic

____Pale, sweaty face

____Blue lips or fingernails

2. When do you experience these asthma symptoms?

____ All the time; unpredictable

____ Only with exercise

____ At nighttime

____ Early morning hours while sleeping

___ During pollen season

___ When you feel stressed or anxious

___ When you smell smoke

___ When you smell fragrance

___ When you’re around dogs or cats

___ When you’re in air-conditioning or breathe cold air

___ When you laugh or sing

___ Associated with allergies, a sinus infection, or postnasal drip

___ Associated with heartburn or GERD

___ When you take aspirin, other anti-inflammatory drugs, or other medication

3. Do you have a family history of asthma or allergy?

4. Do you get bronchitis frequently?

5. Have you been diagnosed with asthma previously?

6. Have you been in the ED for asthma or been on prednisone for asthma?

Diagnosing Asthma and Asthma Tests

After talking with you about your asthma symptoms and possible asthma triggers, your doctor will do a physical exam, laboratory testing, and other possible asthma tests. This will allow you to have a firm understanding of your breathing problems and will be the basis for the suggested plan of asthma treatment.

For more detail, see WebMD’s article Asthma Tests.

Your doctor may use one or more of the following asthma tests in diagnosing asthma. These tests are used to assess your breathing and to monitor the effectiveness of asthma treatment.

Spirometry -- a lung (or pulmonary) function test that measures how much air you can exhale. This asthma test confirms the presence of airway obstruction that improves with treatment, which is very characteristic of asthma, and can accurately measure the degree of lung function impairment. This test can also monitor your response to asthma medications and is recommended for adults and children over age 5.

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When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

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