Your WellStar doctor will diagnose asthma based on your medical history, a physical exam, and results from tests. Your severity level will determine what treatment you will start on and whether you need to see an asthma specialist.
- To diagnose asthma, your doctor might ask about your family history of asthma and allergies and how often you are experiencing asthma symptoms. He or she will also try to determine with you what factors seem to make your symptoms worse. Your doctor will also ask about other conditions that are related to asthma such as sinus infections, reflux disease, sleep apnea and stress.
- Next, your WellStar physician will conduct a physical exam to look for signs of asthma or allergies, including wheezing, a runny nose or allergic skin conditions.
- Then, your WellStar physician could conduct a number of diagnostic tests, including lung function tests, allergy tests and tests to determine if you might have another disease similar to asthma, such as reflux disease, vocal cord dysfunction or sleep apnea. He or she might also order an EKG or electrocardiogram to make sure there isn’t a foreign object or some other disease causing your symptoms.
Diagnosing Asthma in Children
Asthma in young children (aged 0 to 5 years) can be hard to diagnose. A young child who has frequent wheezing with colds or respiratory infections is more likely to have asthma if:
- One or both parents have asthma
- The child has signs of allergies, including the allergic skin condition eczema
- The child has allergic reactions to pollens or other airborne allergens
- The child wheezes even when he or she doesn't have a cold or other infection
Your WellStar physician might also use a four- to six-week trial of asthma medication to see how well a young child responds.
Time to See An Asthma Specialist
You might need to see a WellStar asthma specialist if:
- You've had a life-threatening asthma attack.
- You need more than one kind of medicine or higher doses of medicine to control your asthma, or if you have overall difficulty getting your asthma well controlled.
- You're thinking about getting allergy treatments.
- Physical exam
- Lung function tests
- Allergy tests
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)