How to Diagnose Asthma
Asthma is one of America’s commonest and most costly diseases. It is typically felt as an inflammation of the sufferer’s respiratory tract that causes a shutdown of the airways to the lungs. Asthma can be brought on by allergies that are inhaled. If left untreated severe asthma can be fatal. To date, there is not a cure for asthma. Often, there is asthma in the patient’s family medical history. With just one parent being an asthma sufferer, there is a 1 in three chance of the children being afflicted too.
Symptoms of Asthma
Loss of breath due to an obstructed airway is the telltale symptom of asthma, as well as being a very scary experience. To correctly diagnose an asthma patient, your doctor will go through a rigorous process at the end of which should be an accurate diagnosis. Wheeziness, a cough, short gasping breath and a tight chest are all symptoms far too familiar to adult asthmatics. However, if they are new to you or effects from a cause other than asthma, you are reliant on a doctor who knows what they are looking for.
Your doctor will undoubtedly start with a full clinical inspection at the root of all asthma, the lungs. This may well include an x-ray. They will be looking for the early signs of asthma even if you are not having an attack of breathlessness right there in front of the doctor. The important thing is to distinguish between asthma and other similar conditions such as bronchiolitis, a lung infection in small air passages, upper respiratory conditions or allergies, nasal polyps, enlarged tonsils and sinusitis.
Much less commonly, heart problems such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, an enlarged heart, smoking caused chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and even bronchitis can all be mistaken for asthma at first sight. Doctors need to include a review of the patient’s medical history and lifestyle as well as clinical testing.
A spirometry test calibrates the subject’s ability to breathe in and the pace of air exhalation. A further test, that may or may not be used in an asthma diagnosis is the methacholine challenge test because it is designed to induce the symptoms of asthma. Methacholine is breathed in so as to cause a narrowing of the air passages and thus a better spirometry test, or at least one that more accurately shows up an asthmatics real problem. In healthy patients, a spirometry test would be negative for asthma.
A blood test and analysis for allergic reactions is another good medical test to point to asthma or pin down other causes. An allergic reaction to something breathed in, eaten or touched on the skin can often be the first domino to fall in a chain of events leading to.
Gasping- Wheezes- Panting Panic
The ultimate confirmation of whether a patient’s breathing difficulties are the result of a chronic asthma condition or something else, may well be whether proprietary asthma medication works or not. Your doctor may prescribe a course of asthma medication, and if it makes a difference, then the condition can be confirmed as asthma. Ordinary antibiotics or non-prescription treatments for chills, coughs and colds can never improve the effects of an asthma condition.