Confirming a Diagnosis of Asthma

Question:  I have come across an article about signs and symptoms of asthma and I am afraid that I have the condition.  How do I find out if I do have the condition?

Firstly, you need to speak to your doctor.  If you experienced difficulty in breathing, it is crucial to consult with your doctor.

On your appointment, your doctor will run a number of tests to verify if you have asthma:

- Chest test
Using a regular stethoscope, your doctor will listen to your chest.  As asthma is triggered by the constriction of airways due to inflammation, this alters the way your breathing sounds.  By listening to your chest, your doctor may be able to diagnose if asthma is the cause of your breathing difficulties.

- Peak flow reading
A Peak Flow Meter is a tool used to find out the strength at which a person can breathe out; an asthmatic person may not be able to exhale forcefully, and thus, will have a low peak flow reading.  A Peak Flow Meter works by letting the patient blow into a small tube with a gauge on top.  This test takes only a few seconds.  This is an integral part of the diagnosing if you are asthmatic.

- Inhaler prescription
Once your doctor has determined if you have asthma through the abovementioned tests as well as the symptoms, you will be given an experimental treatment.  Your doctor will recommend two inhalers which you will use daily, and you will be advised to return within two weeks.  You will then have to go through another Peak Flow reading.  If the reading is better than the previous one due, this is due to the prescribed inhalers thus verifying that you have asthma.

Title Post: Confirming a Diagnosis of Asthma
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