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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 hospital emergency department 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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