Asthma Home > Asthma Diagnosis

When making an asthma diagnosis, the doctor considers factors such the person's medical history (including family history) and his or her symptoms. Tests used to make an asthma diagnosis include spirometer and bronchial challenge. An asthma diagnosis will likely be based on a classification -- that is, the severity of the person's symptoms when his or her asthma is not well controlled.

Asthma Diagnosis: An Overview

Asthma can be difficult to diagnose, especially in children under 5 years of age. Regular physical exams that include checks of lung function and tests for allergies can help make an asthma diagnosis.

The Role of Medical History in an Asthma Diagnosis

A healthcare provider trying to diagnose asthma may ask you questions about coughing, especially coughing at night, and whether breathing problems are worse after physical activity or during a particular time of year. Providers may also ask about other symptoms, such as chest tightness, wheezing, and colds that last more than 10 days.
Your healthcare provider may ask about your family history of asthma, allergy, and other breathing problems, and your home environment. He or she also may ask about lost school or work days and things that limit your activities.

Tests Used to Make an Asthma Diagnosis

There are several tests used to make an asthma diagnosis, including:
  • Spirometer test
  • Bronchial challenge test
  • Other tests.
Spirometer Test
Your doctor will probably use a device called a spirometer to check your airways. This test is called spirometry. The test measures how much air and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs after taking a deep breath. The results will be lower than normal if your airways are inflamed and narrowed, as with asthma, or if the muscles around your airways have tightened up. As part of the test, your doctor may give you a medication that helps open up narrowed airways and see if it changes or improves your test results. Spirometry is also used to check your asthma over time to see how you are doing.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.