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How is cough-variant asthma diagnosed?

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Cough-variant asthma is somewhat difficult to diagnose because the cough may be the only symptom, and cough itself may appear to be bronchitis or cough associated with postnasal drip. Your health care provider will ask you questions about your medical history and will examine you and listen to you breathe. However, people with cough-variant asthma often have normal physical exams, chest X-rays, and spirometry. Spirometry involves measuring how much air you can exhale after first taking a deep breath, and how quickly you can empty your lungs. The asthma test uses a device called a spirometer to do the measuring. A methacholine challenge test may be performed if your symptoms and spirometry test do not clearly show asthma. When inhaled, methacholine causes the airways of everyone -- even non-asthmatics -- to spasm and narrow. However, it will indicate asthma if it triggers symptoms at a low dose. During this test, you inhale increasing amounts of methacholine aerosol mist before and after spirometry. The methacholine test is considered positive -- meaning asthma is present -- if the lung function drops by at least 20%. A bronchodilator (airway-opening drug) is always given at the end of the test to reverse the effects of the methacholine. Another way health care providers diagnose cough-variant asthma is by treating the cough with asthma medications. If the cough improves with treatment, you will be diagnosed with cough-variant asthma.

From: Cough-Variant Asthma WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

National Lung Health Education Program: "Chronic Cough."

Dicpinigaitis, P. , Jan. 2006. Chest

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 05, 2017

SOURCES: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

National Lung Health Education Program: "Chronic Cough."

Dicpinigaitis, P. , Jan. 2006. Chest

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 05, 2017

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How is cough-variant asthma treated?

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