Question: I have read up on asthma symptoms and I am concerned that I suffer from the condition. How do I go about obtaining a diagnosis?
First and foremost, consult your doctor. If you are experiencing any breathing difficulties at all, it is important to get things checked with your doctor.
At said appointment, your doctor will perform a number of checks to see if they can confirm a diagnosis of asthma:
- Listen To Your Chest
Your doctor will listen to your chest using a conventional stethoscope. Asthma is caused by a narrowing of the airways due to irritation, and this affects the way your breathing sounds. By listening to it, your doctor will have a firm idea of asthma may be the cause of your troubles.
- Perform A Peak Flow Reading
A Peak Flow Meter is a device used to determine the strength at which a person can exhale; someone with asthma is not likely to be able to exhale forcefully, and will have a low peak flow reading. The measurement is taken by blowing in to a small circular tube with a gauge at the top, and takes only a few seconds. This will be a key part of assessing whether or not you have asthma.
- Giving You Inhalers To Try
If the above tests, along with your detailed symptoms, suggest that you may be suffering from asthma, you will begin experimental treatment. Your doctor will prescribe two inhalers for your daily use, and you will return to see them within a fortnight. At this point another Peak Flow reading will be taken; if the reading has improved on the previous one, this is due to the inhalers, confirming you need them and thus confirming asthma.
If you have been diagnosed by a Doctor as having Asthma, always follow their medical advice.