Asthma Diagnosis: The Procedures and Techniques
The signs and symptoms of a patient will have to be verified through a series of tests to come up with an asthma diagnosis. However, the symptoms are only one basis for the diagnosis. Other than that, the patient’s history will also be considered. By history, meaning the activities participated by the patient in the past as well as his attitude and actions. The history is essential to trace down which factor precipitated the patient to having asthma.
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 would be the physical assessment. Here, the physician will examine the parts of your body to see if there are any signs of asthma. This assessment usually includes the upper respiratory tract which is composed of the nose, throat, and upper airways. The assessment is usually done with the use of a stethoscope. The physician will observe the patient’s breathing and listen to breath sounds. Usually, in patients with asthma, a wheezing sound is heard during the assessment. The physician will also check the skin for any signs of allergic reactions.
Letting the physician know of signs and symptoms you are experiencing like chest tightness, coughing, difficulties in breathing, frequent wheezing, and other symptoms will help the physician make a clear diagnosis on your condition.
There are other tests that can be done before coming up with an asthma diagnosis. A few tests are listed below:
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
This procedure make use of a peak flow meter, a hand held apparatus that can help find out how fast the ability of the patient to blow air out of the lungs in one breath. The result is termed as the patient’s peak expiratory flow rate. This device is very convenient to use and the procedure is easy to do so the patient can do this at home, everyday if he wants to. This test can also help the patient monitor the symptoms he has that is related to asthma, if it gets worse.
There are other tests that can be done but are based on the signs and symptoms manifested by a particular patient. An example is the airway responsiveness test where a trigger is being used to evaluate how the airways react. It is also done to test for certain allergies and for airway inflammation.
An asthma diagnosis becomes accurate if the necessary data has been collected properly. The patient must be totally honest regarding the signs and symptoms as well as the history. This can help to arrive on a good conclusion and the more accurate the test results are the better the treatment options will be.