The diagnosis of an asthma patient can depend on the symptoms presented, a detailed medical history, the physical examination done by the doctor and the laboratory tests done to confirm the diagnosis. For the most part the diagnosis of asthma can be fairly easy once the results come through; however, the diagnosis has an involved process before the eventual results are determined.
For asthmatic patients symptoms can include problems related to breathing such as difficulty taking a breathe, wheezy respiration, labored breathing during activities that require exertion, chest tightness and any obstruction of airflow. A true indicator for asthma can be seen when the person gasps for breath with a wheezy sound, which is a characteristic picture of asthma. In addition, having a detailed medical history that includes any history of allergy, family history of asthma, persistent coughs, cold and seasonal allergies can be contributing factors for asthmatic patient.
After the diagnosis process has begun laboratory tests are usually ordered to confirm that the patient has asthma and can include blood tests for ESR and eosinophil counts that could give indication of any allergic reaction or chest infection, as these are also contributory factors. The chest x-ray confirms the expansion of the lungs as well as any infections or other abnormalities in the lungs that can contribute to asthma. The groups of tests performed to diagnose asthma are Pulmonary Function Tests, otherwise known as Spirometry. In this test the degree and access of airflow obstruction is measured along with the confirmation of its severity. These are otherwise termed FEV1, FVC, and FEV1/FVC. The assessment of the reversibility of asthma can also be done through these tests. Carrying out tests of allergen detection through skin sensitivity tests is also a form of testing. These tests are of prolonged duration by which time the person has a fully established asthma. Still, if the allergens detection is accurate and the person needs to stay away from certain allergic substances, then asthmatic attack is preventable.
One of the most experienced symptoms of asthma is a wheezing sound as air enters the respiratory system. Many other chest diseases can present the same types of breathing problems as asthma; hence an accurate diagnosis is very essential. Spirometry is the confirmatory lung test for asthma. Once the diagnosis is made, the options open to the patient vary in range from no prescription, for very mild cases of asthma, to a full course of asthmatic preventatives to help those patients who have a severe asthmatic problem.