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How is asthma diagnosed?

To find out if you have asthma your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your health. You might also get some tests done to see how well your lungs are working. If you know you have asthma it is important to see your doctor or asthma nurse at least twice a year for check ups. They, along with your carers, are part of your team to keep you healthy and your asthma under control.

  • Spirometry. Doctors use this test to diagnose and keep track of asthma. It measures how much air you can breathe into your lungs and how quickly your lungs empty out.

  • Peak expiratory flow (PEF). This shows how fast you can breathe out into a peak flow meter when you try your hardest.

  • An exercise or inhalation challenge. This test measures how quickly you breathe after exercise or after taking a medicine.

  • A chest X-ray, a picture of your lungs so the doctor can see what is happening inside.

  • Allergy tests, if your doctor thinks your symptoms may be caused by allergies.