HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by Talix

Asthma Tests

Tests to Diagnose Asthma

There is no single test for asthma. To properly diagnose asthma, your doctor will ask you or your child several questions about symptoms, medical history, and risk factors. They will also perform a physical exam to rule out any other possible conditions. A number of diagnostic tests are available to help diagnose asthma.

Spirometry

Spirometry is a lung function test that measures how much air you can inhale and exhale in one second. Below-normal results can indicate airway obstruction. Your doctor may then give you medication and repeat the test to see whether there is improvement.

Bronchial Challenge Test

During a bronchial challenge test, a known asthma trigger is inhaled to cause the airways to constrict. A spirometer is then used to measure the subsequent lung function. If you react to the trigger to a certain level of sensitivity, you likely have asthma. This test is also called a methacholine challenge test or a histamine challenge test.

Peak Flow

A peak flow meter can determine your peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), a measure of lung function. This is often a self-administered test for monitoring asthma. The peak flow meter is easy to use at home.

Nitric Oxide

High levels of nitric oxide in your breath could mean that your airways are inflamed, which is a common sign of asthma. The nitric oxide test involves blowing into a mouthpiece connected to a machine. It measures the amount of nitric oxide in your breath.

Chest X-Ray

A chest X-ray will allow your doctor to see inside your chest and examine your lungs radiographically. While it may not enable a specific diagnosis of asthma, it may help rule out other factors that might be affecting your breathing. This could be something like a broken bone, an obstruction, or conditions such as pneumonia or bronchitis.


Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Sep 18, 2014: Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.