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Asthma

Diagnosis of Asthma

A comprehensive assessment is needed to differentiate between asthma versus an alternate disease or condition such as emphysema, early congestive heart failure or vocal cord problems.. The physician makes a clinical diagnosis based upon symptoms, severity, and results from lung/respiratory function tests. (Morris 2012). To make a thorough assessment and help the patient manage the disease, the physician obtains a detailed medical history.

Lung & Airway Function Tests Spirometry. Spirometry is the recommended method for diagnosing asthma. It measures the degree and severity of airflow obstruction by assessing the rate and amount of air expelled after taking a deep breath (Pearce 2011).

Peak Flow Meter. The peak flow meter measures the maximum speed of air from forced expiration, known as peak expiratory flow (PEF). It measures the airflow through the bronchi and thus the degree of obstruction in the airways. This simple test can also be used to monitor asthma conditions in the home (Kaufman 2011).