When we see a person with heavy breathing, shortness of breath, or with a cough with wheezing, we first of all think about whether this person is contagious . Less often, we look at him sympathetically and understand that, possibly, he has bronchial asthma – a chronic respiratory disease.  

The basis of asthma is inflammation in the human respiratory system. The cause of asthma attacks is bronchospasm.

How to diagnose asthma?

It is unlikely to succeed with just one look. Rather, it will not work at all. Having seen the symptoms, one can only assume the presence of bronchial asthma. Diagnose asthma should specialists. Doctors know how to diagnose asthma – allergists and pulmonologists.  

Why is asthma difficult to diagnose? Symptoms of asthma can be confused with other diseases of the bronchopulmonary system. But you should beware and visit a doctor if you or your children have the following symptoms 

 – wheezing;

 – shortness of breath, regardless of whether you are sleeping or awake;

 – Frequent debilitating cough that interferes with your life;

 – cough with sputum, especially if you notice an admixture of blood;

 – chest pain.

A visit to the doctor will begin with a conversation. Be prepared to answer the following questions to your doctor : 

 – how often did you have bronchopulmonary diseases in childhood;

 – How long have you had symptoms that you complain about?

 – whether a cough occurs after increased physical activity or loud prolonged laughter. 

After the conversation, the doctor listens to the patient using a stethoscope.

If the doctor suspects the presence of bronchial asthma, then at the end of the medical examination the patient will be assigned a full examination.

How to diagnose asthma with additional tests?

In order to confirm or refute the fact of asthma disease, you will need to undergo the following examinations 

 – chest x-ray;

 – examination on a computer tomograph;

 – a study using a spirometer to determine the volume of exhaled air;

 – test for allergens.

And, of course , you will need to pass tests. 

Who is at risk for asthma?

Those at risk include people with asthma in the family. The risk of getting asthma is increased in people working with allergens and irritants. These include the following professions : veterinarians, farmers, workers in hazardous chemical industries, jewelers, hairdressers, locksmiths, healthcare workers, manufacturers of rubber and rubber products, etc. That is, people in those specialties in which there is close contact with all kinds of allergens. Smokers with experience have a great chance to get bronchial asthma.  

However, this does not mean at all that only allergens cause bronchial asthma. In nature, there is also no allergic (endogenous) type of asthma. True, it is much less common than the exogenous (allergic) type. As a rule, women with this type of asthma suffer after 30 years, and the disease appears due to respiratory infections.

How to diagnose asthma in young children?

Pediatricians are in no hurry to diagnose bronchial asthma in children under 6 years of age. This is due to the fact that the clinical picture of the disease in children is not entirely clear. But if the child has characteristic signs of asthma: wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, and these symptoms decrease or disappear completely after using Ventolin, then, as a rule, doctors say that the baby has asthma.

To diagnose asthma in children, the provocation method is used: a stress test and inhalation with metacholine. The first method is to check lung function after running. The second method does not affect healthy children, asthma patients will give a reaction in the form of a short-term impairment of lung function. 

Asthma can and should be treated. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the more successful the treatment will be. Do not start the disease, consult a doctor!