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Important Tests to Diagnose Asthma and Identify Triggers

Important Tests to Diagnose Asthma and Identify Triggers

Asthma is a condition that is characterized by the inflammation of airways. Symptoms of the condition generally include breathlessness, incessant cough, and exhaustion. A variety of asthma tests can help you diagnose the condition and treat it. Here is a look at some of these tests.

Physical examination:

The first test you will possibly undergo is a physical examination to rule out other medical conditions like respiratory infections or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The exam will be followed by basic questions on the signs and symptoms you experience in addition to any existing health problems you may have.

Lung function tests:

These severe asthma tests are designed to find out how much air can move in and out of your lungs as you breathe. The doctor may perform these tests before and after giving you medication like bronchodilator. They include:

  • Peak flow: This test utilizes a peak flow meter to measure the amount of air that flows out of your lungs when you breathe hard. A lower than normal reading usually indicates improper functioning of lungs and possibly asthma.
  • Spirometry: As part of the lung function asthma tests, this test will estimate how narrow your bronchial tubes get when you exhale after taking a deep breath.

Other tests for asthma include:

  • Nitric oxide test: This test measures how much nitric oxide you can hold in your breath. Higher levels of nitric oxide are usually a sign of asthma.
  • Methacholine challenge: In this test, an asthma trigger is inhaled, causing the airways to constrict a little. If you react to this drug, you may have asthma.
  • Provocative testing for exercise-induced asthma: In a series of asthma tests, the doctor will measure the amount of airway obstruction before and after you exercise vigorously.

In addition to these tests, the doctor may recommend other tests like a chest X-ray, a CT scan of the nasal cavities and lungs, as well as sputum eosinophils to determine the number of white blood cells present in the mucus and saliva. These asthma tests will help decide whether or not you have asthma or not to treat the condition in time.

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