In doing an asthma diagnosis, the physician usually lets the patient go through a series of tests and procedures but these will be based on the symptoms being experienced by the patient as well as his history. The patient is commonly asked on what activities he does and his lifestyle choices. There are factors in one’s life that might contribute to the development of asthma. Hence, questions on these areas are vital.
The first step in asthma diagnosis is therefore when the patient tells the doctor of the symptoms he is experiencing. The patient must let the doctor know of other information as well like the exposure to irritants like tobacco, fumes from chemicals, and other irritants from the environment. In addition, the patient must also mention any allergies he has and history of asthma in the family. Moreover, information like other health conditions the patient has and type of medications he has been taking may help with having the best asthma diagnosis.
The second step will comprise of a thorough physical assessment done by a licensed physician of course. Since asthma involves the upper respiratory tract, the physician commonly uses a stethoscope to listen to the patient’s breath sounds. Other parts that need to be assessed are the nose, throat, and upper airways. Upon auscultation, a wheezing sound will be heard in a patient with asthma. The skin will also be checked for any allergic reactions.
Some signs one should look out for may include repeated wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, difficulties in breathing, and flu-like symptoms. The physician will consider presence of any of these symptoms as a basis for an asthma diagnosis.
Other tests may be performed to further verify the patient’s respiratory condition. Here are a few samples:
Here, the patient is asked to breathe into the spirometer to see if the lungs are working well. The device has a gauge that will indicate the amount of air the patient can breathe out in a second and also the total amount of air the patient can breathe out. The findings will then be compared to the results taken from normal people around the same age of the patient.
Peak expiratory flow rate test
In this method, a peak flow meter is used. It aims to find out how fast the patient can blow out air from the lungs in one breath or the patient’s peak expiratory flow rate. Since all you got to do is let out a breath from the lungs into the device and read the measurement, many patients just do it at home on a daily basis. It is one way to find out if the symptoms of asthma have gone worse.
There are still other tests, but it depends on what symptoms the patient displays. It is more specific and individualized. A common example is the airway responsiveness test. A trigger is used in this procedure which allows seeing how the airways react. Moreover, it can be done to assess for specific allergies and airway inflammation.
A good asthma diagnosis is made by a thorough evaluation of patient’s history and signs and symptoms present. Therefore, honesty is vital especially in answering the questions of the doctor to come up with an accurate asthma diagnosis and the most excellent treatment possible.