Tests that confirm asthma are family medical history, physical exam, and lung function tests.
Lung Function Test: Your doctor can test your lung function through spirometry. Also call pulmonary function tests (PFT), the test measures how much air your lungs can hold and how quickly air moves in and out of the lungs. The testing device is called a spriometer and records a chart called a spirogram.
Bronchoprovocation: Referred to as a methacholine challenge test, or cold-air exercise test, this test may be ordered if the spirometry, x-ray, blood tests, and physical exam return normal results. The patient with asthma will have an increased sensitivity to inhaled methocholine. The downside to the test is that not all people who have an increased sensitivity have asthma, but all patients with asthma do so the test is actually more useful to rule out asthma, rather than to diagnose it.
Elimination Tests: Your doctor may run a variety of test to rule out other conditions that may appear to be asthma-like such as allergies, sleep apnea, vocal dysfunction, or reflux disease. A chest x-ray may also be ordered to rule out obstruction or disease.
Who Is Affected by Asthma?
People who are affected by asthma have chronic inflammation of their breathing airways and certain triggers can cause them to have asthma attacks. Because the cause of asthma is not known to scientists, there is no cure for it. It can, however, be controlled with medications. Currently, asthma is on the rise, and this is giving scientists some insight as to what might cause asthma or make it worse. There may be links between asthma and pollution in the air, obesity, and even a lack of exposure to pathogens that our ancestors had. This lack of exposure might cause our immune system to be more sensitive to pathogens and have more severe reactions when it encounters them.
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“Spirometry and Other Lung Function Tests.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/lung/lung-function-tests>.
Plottel, Claudia S.. 100 questions & answers about asthma . 2nd ed. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011. Print.
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