Asthma, a chronic respiratory disease, causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways thereby affecting your breathing. This long-term lung disease is characterized by shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.
There is no one single cause of asthma as researchers believe the disease is caused by various factors that include;
Other triggers may include;
Doctors rank asthma based on their symptoms;
So how does the doctor determine the severity? Using asthma pulmonary function test for asthma.
To diagnose and classify asthma, our doctor reviews your asthma symptoms, family and medical history. Additionally, they also do a pulmonary function test to determine your breathing patterns.
Several lung function test are available and they include;
This is an asthma breathing test that measures how much air you inhale and how quickly you exhale.
Spirometry reveals the amount of obstruction you have in your airways. To perform this test, you will take a deep breath and blow it out as hard and quickly as you can into a hose attached to the spirometer. This process is repeated three times for consistency.
Spirometer uses two measurements;
FVC (Forced Vital Capacity) which measures how much air you inhale and exhale
FEV (Forced Expiratory Volume) which indicates how much air you can breathe out from your lung in one second.
Using the peak flow meter, the doctor will measure the maximum speed at which your lung blows air out. The test will show how narrow the airways have become.
Although peak flow meter is not as effective as a spirometer, it is a good way to test your lung function at home. The meter is ideal for people above seven years.
FeNo or exhaled nitric oxide test is done to determine how much inflammation you have on your airways and is done on people with eosinophilic or allergic asthma.
There are three types:
Ask your doctor if there’s anything you need to do before the test. Additionally, inform them if you have any viral infections or flu shots.
Also, you might be required to adjust some of the asthma drugs that are taking as certain medications can affect your test results. So, discuss with the doctor if you need to stop any drugs.
Currently, there’s no cure for asthma, but various treatment options are available that can help reduce the symptoms. The key to living with asthma is to be educated.