Asthma in Teens and Adults - Topic Overview
How is asthma diagnosed?
Along with doing a
physical exam and asking about your health, your doctor may order lung function
tests. These tests include:
Doctors use this test to diagnose and keep track of asthma. It measures how
quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs and how much air you
- Peak expiratory flow (PEF). This shows how much air you
can breathe out when you try your hardest.
- An exercise or
inhalation challenge. This test measures how your breathing is affected by exercise or after taking a medicine.
- A chest
X-ray, to see if another disease is causing your
- Allergy tests, if your doctor thinks your symptoms may be
caused by allergies.
You will need routine checkups with your doctor to keep
track of your asthma and decide on treatment.
How is it treated?
There are two parts to treating
asthma, which are outlined in your asthma action plan. The goals are to:
- Control asthma over the long term. Your
asthma action plan tells you which medicine to take. It also helps you track
your symptoms and know how well the treatment is working. Many people take
controller medicine—usually an inhaled
corticosteroid—every day. Taking it
every day helps to reduce the swelling of the airways and prevent attacks. Your
doctor will show you how to use your inhaler correctly. This is very important
so you get the right amount of medicine to help you breathe
- Treat asthma attacks when they occur. Your asthma action
plan tells you what to do when you have an asthma attack. It helps you identify
triggers that can cause your attacks. You use quick-relief medicine, such as
albuterol, during an attack.
If you need to use the quick-relief inhaler more often
than usual, talk to your doctor. This may be a sign that your asthma is not
controlled and can cause problems.
Asthma attacks can be
life-threatening, but you may be able to prevent them if you follow a plan.
Your doctor can teach you the skills you need to use your asthma action