Quiz: Do I Have Asthma Symptoms
If you think you are having an asthma attack you should seek immediate medical attention.
Asthma is a very common condition, affecting 5 million people in the UK. However, despite being so prevalent, some people with the condition may not necessarily realise they have it.
As with other conditions, recognising symptoms when they occur and getting a doctors advice are the first steps towards getting asthma under control.
If you suspect that you could have asthma weve developed a short quiz to help you get a clearer idea of whether you should approach your doctor for further advice.
This quiz should in no way be considered as a replacement for medical consultation with a healthcare professional.
However, if you find yourself answering yes to one or more of the below, we recommend that you speak to your GP so that they can provide guidance on what you should do next.
How To Get A Diagnosis
The first thing to do is book an appointment. Your GP or an asthma nurse can help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of asthma.
They can do this by:
- talking about your symptoms, what sets them off, and when you get them
- asking if anyone else in the family has asthma
- finding out if you, or anyone in your family, have other allergies, like hay fever
- testing how your lungs are working
- listening to your chest for any sounds of wheezing
- prescribing asthma treatments to see if they make a difference
- considering any other symptoms that might suggest something else.
Alongside a full clinical assessment by your GP, youll need some asthma tests to confirm or rule out asthma. Your GP can see how your lungs are working with tests like peak flow, spirometry, and FeNo .
Your GP can usually perform these tests during the appointment, and you can see the results straight away. But you may need to do tests again on another day before your GP can confirm you have asthma.
You may be given a peak flow meter to use at home for a couple of weeks. This is so you can record your own peak flow scores in a diary.
When you take it back to your appointment, your GP or asthma nurse will be able to see a pattern of scores that could suggest asthma.
Trying out asthma treatments
Your GP or asthma nurse may prescribe asthma treatments to see if they help. This is sometimes called a trial of treatment.
If your symptoms start to get better, it suggests you could have asthma.
Question : Do You Keep Getting Chest Infections
You answered yes.
You answered no.
- People with asthma have sensitive airways so are at a higher risk of developing chest infections.
- Often following a cold or a bout of the flu, a chest infection can considerably worsen asthma symptoms.
- If you have a chest infection which isnt clearing up, or you keep getting them again and again, consult your doctor, as this may be an indication that you have asthma.
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Diagnosing Asthma In Dogs
Unless your dog has an asthma attack in your veterinarians office, it can be a little tricky to diagnose the condition. Your veterinarian will rely on your description of the symptoms and your dogs medical history. Theyll ask you about how and when the symptoms occurred as well as any history of allergies or previous asthma attacks.
They will also conduct a nose to tail physical exam and potentially order blood tests, urinary analysis, and chest X-rays. These diagnostic tools can help rule out other illnesses, such as an infection, kennel cough, or bronchitis. In addition, your veterinarian may test for heartworm disease since it can show similar symptoms to asthma.
What To Do When A Dog Has An Asthma Attack
It can be frightening to watch your dog have trouble breathing, but you should do your best to stay calm. Dogs have a remarkable ability to pick up on our emotional states, and they may get more upset if they see that youre panicked.
You can try to calm your dog down by talking to them gently while you call your veterinary clinic for advice. Your veterinarian can offer recommendations over the phone, including whether or not you should bring them in for immediate medical treatment.
Research shows that dogs can understand our words and emotions. They also have stronger reactions to fear, anger, and happiness than sadness or disgust.
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How To Use Your Qvar Inhaler
- Video about how young children can correctly use an inhaler and spacer WITH A MASK.
- Video about how older children and adults can correctly use an inhaler and spacer WITHOUT A MASK.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.
The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.
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Caring For A Dog With Asthma
If your dog is prone to asthma, youll want to minimize their exposure to allergens that might cause an attack. For instance:
- Purchase a room air purifier to help remove particles in the air that can trigger an attack.
- Bathe your dog regularly and dry them off with a soft towel afterward. Choose a safe, unscented shampoo made for dogs.
- If you have a cat, go with dust-free cat litter. You should also put the litterbox in a place where your curious pooch cant get at it.
- Wipe your dog off with pet-safe wipes after going outside to remove pollen and other allergens from their coat.
- Vacuum often, including area rugs, carpeting, and any fabric chairs or couches that your dog likes to nap on.
- Consider removing area rugs and replacing carpeting with other types of flooring. Even with regular vacuuming, they can hold in allergens, such as dust mites and mold.
- Clean tile and hardwood floors using unscented products. You can also use a mixture of vinegar and water as a safe floor cleaning alternative.
- Avoid using scented air fresheners or deodorizers. You can place shallow bowls of baking soda around the house out of paws reach to absorb odors.
- Wash your dogs bedding and blankets frequently using fragrance-free laundry detergents and fabric softeners.
- Keep your dog out of rooms or other places where people are smoking or vaping.
- Avoid burning wood in fireplace or stoves. You can use fake logs or battery-powered candles for a gentle glow that is safe for pets.
Are There Different Tests To Diagnose Asthma In Children
Children under 5 years old dont normally have lung function tests. Instead, a doctor will do a physical exam and make note of all their symptoms. Theyll collect a detailed medical history and will ask questions about the family medical history.
There are many conditions that might look like asthma in young children, making diagnosis difficult. Your childs doctor might prescribe an inhaled medication called a bronchodilator. This medication is safe and temporarily opens the airways.
It might be a sign your child has asthma if the bronchodilator improves their breathing symptoms. Your childs doctor will make a diagnosis once there is enough evidence to support that asthma is causing your childs breathing difficulties.
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What Can An Allergist Do For A Child With Asthma
An allergist can set your child on the right track for long-term control by helping you create an action plan with treatment goals for your child. With the right treatment, your child can sleep through the night, avoid missing day care or school and breathe more easily.
Asthma symptoms may be triggered or worsened by certain events: Colds or other respiratory infections. Allergy-causing agents , such as dust, pet dander or pollen. Activity or exercise. In infants, feeding. Exposure to cigarette smoke or other airborne irritants.
What Are Pulmonary Function Tests
Pulmonary function tests include numerous procedures to diagnose lung problems. The two most common lung function tests used to diagnose asthma are spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide and challenge tests.
Spirometry This is a simple breathing test that measures how much and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It is often used to determine the amount of airway obstruction you have. Spirometry can be done before and after you inhale a short-acting medication called a bronchodilator, such as albuterol. The bronchodilator causes your airways to expand, allowing for air to pass through freely. This test might also be done at future doctor visits to monitor your progress and help your doctor determine if and how to adjust your treatment plan.
Exhaled nitric oxide Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced in the lungs and has been found to be an indicator of inflammation. Because asthma is an inflammatory process, this test has become helpful in the diagnosis and management of asthma. The test is performed by having you breathe into a small, handheld machine for about 10 seconds at a steady pace. It then calculates the amount of nitric oxide in the air you breathe out.
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Tests For Other Conditions
The doctor may also do tests for other conditions that can make asthma worse, like:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
The Canadian Lung Association: “Signs and Symptoms of Asthma: Diagnosis.”
National Jewish Medical and Research Center: “How Is Asthma Diagnosed?”
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “About Asthma: Diagnosing Asthma.”
Mayo Clinic: âAsthma: Steps in testing and diagnosis.â
Medscape: âAsthma Guidelines.â
American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology: “What to expect at the doctor’s office.”
American Lung Association: “Spirometry and Other Lung Function Tests Fact Sheet.”
American Medical Association: Essential Guide to Asthma.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “Peak Flow Meters.”
Grayson, M. ACP Medicine, 2005.
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program: “Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma — 2002.”
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “Asthma: How is Asthma Diagnosed?”
MedlinePlus: “Pulmonary Function Tests.”
National Lung Health Education Program: “Spirometry.”
How Is A Physical Exam Used In The Diagnosis Of Asthma
The doctor will watch the way your chest and stomach muscles move when you breathe and use a stethoscope to listen to air flowing in and out of your lungs.
The doctor will look inside your nose, searching for signs of conditions that often go along with asthma, such as rhinitis , sinusitis and nasal polyps , and examine skin for signs of eczema .
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Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide testing detects and measures a gas produced by cells in the airways when they are inflamed as a result of allergic or eosinophilic asthma. The presence of this gas, nitric oxide, can help diagnose asthma or determine how well anti-inflammatory medicationsâtypically inhaled corticosteroids âare controlling asthma.ï»¿ï»¿
The test is simple and noninvasive: It involves exhaling slowing and steadily into a handheld instrument. The device measures the amount of nitric oxide in the breath in parts per billion . FeNO takes place in a doctor’s office and the results of the test are available immediately.ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿
FeNo testing was one focus of a National Institutes of Health panel of experts who issued updated guidelines for asthma management in December 2020. According to their recommendations, FeNO testing should not be used alone to diagnose or monitor asthma, but can be helpful as an add-on test when a person’s symptoms and spirometry and other tests aren’t conclusive.
The guidelines apply only to adults and children 5 and over. The panel advised against FeNO testing for younger children as a way to assess wheezing, as studies show it to be an unreliable way to predict if they ultimately will develop asthma.ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿
What Sports Commonly Cause Asthma Symptoms
If you have sports-induced asthma, you may want to choose certain activities over others. Endurance sports and activities that take place in colder temperatures are more likely to trigger symptoms. Thats because cold, dry air can constrict the airways and trigger symptoms of asthma.
Sports that are most likely to trigger symptoms of asthma:
- Require constant physical exertion: Long-distance running, soccer, basketball and other endurance sports require you to breathe heavily and constantly with little rest.
- Take place in colder weather: Skiing, ice hockey, ice skating and snowboarding commonly cause symptoms due to colder air temperatures.
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How To Use Your Asmanex Twisthaler Inhaler
Video on how to use yourDiskus inhaler.
What Can An Urgent Care Physician Do To Diagnose Asthma
The physician will take an accurate history to see if you have the symptoms of asthma, as well as any of the risk factors or triggers described above. They will also listen to your lungs, which will have a certain kind of sound to them, called wheezing, when heard through a stethoscope. There are also things the physician can see in your throat and nose that can be associated with asthma.
The physician will then test how well your lungs are working, which is called pulmonary function testing. These tests can pinpoint specifically if your breathing symptoms are due to asthma or something else, like emphysema or COPD , which can have similar symptoms but are commonly caused by smoking.
There are no laboratory blood tests available that can diagnose asthma, but if the asthma is severe enough, the physician may get blood tests to make sure you do not also have an infection or other disease that might be making your asthma worse.
Similar to blood tests, chest X-rays usually will not confirm asthma but can help the physician see if there is something else going on in the lungs that might be causing your symptoms.
Based on all these tests, your physican will make an evaluation on if you have asthma or not. If they are still not sure, they may refer you to an asthma specialist for further testing.
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Here’s What They Say About Pfts
Forced Vital Capacity. This is the total amount of air you can exhale after a full inhalation. You inhale as deep as you can. Then you blow as hard and fast as you can. You exhale until you have no air left to exhale.
Flow Volume Loop. This will appear on the computer as you do this test. The expiratory loop will appear concave if you are having asthma symptoms. This is indicitive of airflow limitation. It means your airways are obstructed. If you are not having asthma symptoms, the expiratory loop will not appear concave. You can see this in the picture above.
Forced Expiratory Volume in one second . The computer uses your FVC to calculate how much air you exhaled in one second. This is the best indicator of asthma. It cannot be faked. Normal is 80% or better. It may be less than 80% if you’re having asthma symptoms. The goal of any asthma treatment program is to keep this above 80%. Your lung function should be normal or close to normal between attacks.
FEV1/ FVC. This is a very senstive calculation. It is a tel-tale indicator of airflow limitation. Normal is 80%. Less than 80% may means airflow limitation or asthma.
Bronchodlator. After performing the test, you will be given a breathing treatment. The most common medicine used is albuterol. It relaxes airway smooth muscles to open airways. This treatment takes 5-10 minutes. After the treatment you will wait about 15 minutes. Then, you will repeat the FVC.
Keep A Record Of Asthma Symptoms
If you or a family member have breathing difficulties, keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. You could also make a video or audio recording of the wheezing, using your mobile phone.The diary may include:
- when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night
- how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen
- how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time
- whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing, laughing or after an infection
- whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.
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What Are The Signs Of An Allergic Reaction
Understanding the signs of an allergic reaction could save your life or the life of someone you know. Although many food allergies are mild, some are quite severe and could cause breathing problems if not addressed immediately.
If you suspect that someone is having trouble breathing, or if you feel your airway constricting after eating a specific type of food, get to a hospital immediately. There are several different types of symptoms of allergic reactions, and everyone is different. The most common signs are as follows:
- Short breaths and problems breathing
- A sudden rash or hives
- Nausea or vomiting