The signs and symptoms of asthma can be variable and it can be difficult to diagnose just based on the signs and symptoms. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history (type and frequency of symptoms and family history), do a physical exam and recommend certain tests such as lung function test to diagnose asthma. Your doctor will also try to determine the severity of asthma (whether it's intermittent, mild, moderate, or severe) as the treatment varies based on the severity of asthma.
Your doctor will take a detailed history such as the type and frequency of symptoms, the trigger factors, your family history of asthma and allergies. Share with your doctor if the symptoms occur only during certain seasons, or in certain places, or at night. Inform the doctor about your other medical conditions such as sinus infections, reflux disease, and psychological stress.
During the physical exam the doctor will listen to your breathing for the presence of wheeze, look for signs of other allergies (skin allergy or allergic rhinitis). Physical exam on the day of examination can be totally normal but this does not rule out asthma.
Your doctor may order a series of diagnostic tests to know if you have asthma, the severity of asthma, and the trigger factors.
Your doctor will not recommend all these tests initially. Tests are done based in your signs and symptoms and a combination of them may be needed to get a clear picture of what's causing your symptoms and the severity of the disease. A series of tests for asthma are recommended if a person has had a life-threatening asthma attack, needs more than one kind of medicine or high doses of medicine to control the symptoms of asthma and if the symptoms worsen in spite of treatment.
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