If you or someone you know has been having trouble breathing, coughing frequently, or experiencing wheezing, it could be a sign of asthma.
Here is what you need to know about getting an asthma diagnosis, and what happens next:
When you see a doctor because you might have asthma, they'll ask about your symptoms and what makes them worse. They'll examine you using a stethoscope, a special tool that helps them listen to your chest. To confirm if it's asthma, the doctor may conduct a Spirometry (pronounced: spy-ROM-uh-tree) test. This test measures how well your lungs work by checking how much air you can breathe in and out and how fast you can do it.
They may also check how your lungs are working with a peak flow meter, which measures how well you're breathing. Additionally, they also might monitor your peak flow readings, both before and after taking asthma medication. If your peak flow meter reading improves after taking the medication, it's more likely that you have asthma.
If the doctor suspects that allergies might be causing your asthma, they may conduct an allergy test. During the test, a small amount of substances that might cause allergies, such as pollen or pet dander, will be placed on your skin to see if it causes any reaction.
In some cases, the doctor may require a chest X-ray to eliminate other potential conditions.
When diagnosed with asthma, your doctor should work with you to create an Asthma Action Plan, which may include taking medication, avoiding asthma triggers, and making other lifestyle changes to stay healthy. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have about your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Remember, asthma is a manageable condition that can be treated, so don't be afraid of it. If you or someone you know has trouble breathing, see a doctor right away. Always make sure to follow your Asthma Action Plan and take your medicine as directed. With the right care and management, you can control your asthma and continue to do all the things you love.