Your Family Practice Physician Or Pediatrician
One of the best places to start looking for asthma doctors is with your primary care physician . Thats because he or she has numerous connections with specialists in your area, and will be able to recommend you to someone that can offer treatment. Even better, your healthcare provider or family doctor has experience with your medical history and understands the specifics of your condition, especially if you have other illnesses that need to be considered when treating your asthma as a result, your recommended healthcare provider will be even more personalized.
Judging The Severity Of Asthma
Based on these tests and your symptoms, your doctor may diagnose you with asthma. The next step is to find out if your asthma is severe. This will help them decide your treatment. Youâll have one of these four types of asthma:
If a doctor diagnoses you with asthma, they can prescribe medications to help manage your condition and prevent attacks.
When You Need An Asthma Specialist
Asthma is a complex condition that comes in numerous forms. A mild case with obvious triggers that responds well to medication may not warrant a visit with a specialist. However, it’s rarely that simpleespecially in the long term.
You should consider an asthma specialist for you or your child if you or they:
- Have a life-threatening asthma attack, intubation, or admission to a hospital or intensive care unit for asthma
- Have poorly controlled despite three to six months of consistent treatment
- Are interested in allergy shots to help control asthma triggered by allergens
- Have worsening asthma despite using oral steroids
- Have moderate persistent or more severe asthma
- Need asthma education
Your primary care physician or other healthcare provider may refer you or your child to an asthma specialist if you/your child:
Recommended Reading: Can You Have Asthma Without Wheezing
What To Expect From Your Doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- What exactly are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you have breathing problems most of the time or only at certain times or in certain situations?
- Do you have allergies, such as atopic dermatitis or hay fever?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- Do allergies or asthma run in your family?
- Do you have any chronic health problems?
Questions To Ask When Choosing An Asthma Specialist
Once you determine the type of asthma specialist you want to see, consider the following questions to help make the best choice:
Changes in medical coverage may mean that the doctor you now see will not be the one you see in a year or two. This makes it even more important to understand your asthma diagnosis fully, stay abreast of treatment methods, and follow your asthma action plan.
Recommended Reading: Can Lung Cancer Cause Asthma
Triggers For Asthma In Children
Asthma triggers are substances, conditions or activities that lead to asthma symptoms. These include :
- wheezing whistling noise when breathing
Your child may have all of these symptoms or just a few. Symptoms are often worse at night, in the early morning, during exercise or due to other triggers.
Recommended Reading: What Happens If You Smoke Weed With Asthma
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.
Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs and is used to diagnose and monitor your progress with treatment. Your healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test.
Recommended Reading: When Does An Asthma Attack Occur
Can An Ent Diagnose Asthma
Whether you have been diagnosed with asthma or think you might have asthma symptoms without a formal diagnosis, an ENT can be an excellent resource for getting an accurate diagnosis and determining a proper treatment plan.
Having an ear, nose, and throat specialist on your care team not only helps with managing your current symptoms but also prevents triggers and flareups in the future.
Ear, nose, and throat doctors or otolaryngologists specialize in health conditions affecting the upper respiratory system, including the ears, nose, and throat, as well as any other disorders affecting the neck or head.
Respiratory Exam And Medical History
A doctor asks about your childs respiratory symptoms, such as breathlessness, and recent illnesses. You may also discuss whether your child has allergies or a family history of asthma or allergies and whether he or she has been exposed to pets, cigarette smoke, or other possible triggers.
Our doctors look for signs that your child is having difficulty breathing, such as retraction, or sinking in, of the area between the ribs. They also listen for unusual breathing sounds, such as wheezing, which can be difficult to distinguish from other breathing noises.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If Asthma Attack
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.
Types Of Asthma Doctors You Can See
Reza Samad, MD, is a board-certified pulmonologist and assistant professor of medicine in New Jersey.
Figuring out how to find a doctor for your asthma can seem challenging at firstafter all, you want to make sure that youre getting the best treatment possible while also staying within your geographic location as well as your insurance plan.
Its important to recognize that the process of finding the right healthcare provider isnt accomplished in one step it takes time, effort, and the willingness to search in more than one place to get what you need. However, as long as you take the time to consider all of your options, you can find someone that fits your specific needs and is able to build a working relationship that will last for years to come.
There are several different types of asthma doctors available, which you can choose from based on the factors listed above:
Hill Street Studios / Getty Images
Also Check: Do Oxygen Levels Drop During Asthma Attack
How You And Your Asthma Doctor May Work Together To Treat Your Asthma
After receiving a diagnosis of asthma, youll probably see your asthma specialist as often as once every two to six weeks. When your asthma is under control, you may be able to drop your appointments down from once a month to a couple of times a year. Some things you can expect from your asthma management:
These Are Some Main Tests That Can Help Diagnose Asthma:
Diagnosis for Children
Asthma is the commonest chronic disease in children. An early asthma diagnosis is important for the proper treatment of young children with respiratory symptoms. It might not be possible to diagnose children with conventional tools. In children younger than 5 years of age it is often difficult to differentiate between viral induced wheezing and asthma. Spirometry and peak flow test can help in confirming the diagnosis of asthma in children above 5 years of age. Oscillometry test can also be used in the diagnosis and management of diseases of the airways in children.
To learn the correct inhalation device technique from certified educators through video call, visit Breathefree Digital Educator platform
Also Check: Asthma Chest Tightness Won’t Go Away
Not A Substitute For Meds
The benefits respiratory therapists and PR specialists provide may help some people rely less on asthma medications, but their care isn’t intended to replace your inhaler or oral asthma drugs. Don’t adjust your medication without talking to the healthcare provider who treats your asthma.
When You May Not Need a Respiratory Therapist/PR Specialist
Respiratory therapists and PR specialists can’t prescribe you asthma medications, so they’re not a replacement for any of your healthcare providers. However, if your PCP is currently overseeing your asthma treatment, one of these therapists may be able to provide valuable insight and information.
If you’re physically fit, don’t have severe asthma attacks, and are managing your condition well , you probably don’t need these specialists.
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Dont have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but dont have a spacer
- Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
- Asthma limits exercise or sports
- Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
- Use more than 1 inhaler per month
- No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
- You have other questions or concerns
Recommended Reading: How Does Humidity Affect Asthma
A Personal Approach To Healthcare
TriVita Clinic of Integrative Medicine uses the latest conventional and evidence-based complementary medicine to help you achieve optimal health. Your healthcare team will perform physical exams, diagnostic testing and explore your lifestyle habits such as nutrition, activity, stress and sleep to adequately assess your overall health and lifestyle to create a personalized plan to help you achieve optimal health and well-being for your life purpose.
Pulmonologists Allergists Respiratory Therapists And More
Sanja Jelic, MD, is board-certified in sleep medicine, critical care medicine, pulmonary disease, and internal medicine.
Your primary care physician or pediatrician or other healthcare provider may have been the one to diagnose your or your child’s asthma, and there are some times when them managing care makes sense. However, seeking out an asthma specialist such as a pulmonologist, allergist, or respiratory therapist is often ideal for many reasons.
Above all, asthma specialists focus their practices on asthma and conditions like it and are more likely to be on top of that latest research in the field. It’s simply impossible for a PCP, who deals with a variety of health issues on a daily basis, to know every nuance of and development in each and every area of medicine.
The best asthma specialist for you or your child depends largely on the type of asthma and how severe symptoms are.
Verywell / Zoe Hansen
Read Also: Does A Chest Xray Show Asthma
Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Asthma
Family doctor. If youre experiencing asthma-like symptoms or if youre unsure what your symptoms
What is the best medication for asthma?
Combination inhalers are the best medicines for the treatment of bronchial asthma. These medicines include budesonide-formoterol , fluticasone-salmeterol , formoterol-mometasone .
Other Tests You May Need If You Have Asthma
Even if your lung function tests are normal, your doctor may order other tests to see what could be causing your asthma symptoms.
- Gas and diffusion tests can measure how well your blood absorbs oxygen and other gases from the air you breathe. You breathe in a small amount of a gas, hold your breath, then blow out. The gas you exhale is analyzed to see how much your blood has absorbed.
- X-rays may tell if there are any other problems with your lungs, or if asthma is causing your symptoms. High-energy radiation creates a picture of your lungs. You may be asked to briefly hold your breath while you stand in front of the X-ray machine.
You May Like: How To Sleep With Asthma Attack
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:
- Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
- Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma has multiple causes:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
- Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
In addition, there are these types of asthma:
How Is Asthma Diagnosed
If you or your child experience symptoms such as wheezing, frequent cough, shortness of breath or chest tightness, it is important to see a healthcare provider to determine if the symptoms point to asthma.
To diagnose asthma, a doctor will evaluate these symptoms, ask for complete health history, conduct a physical exam and look at test results.
At the initial visit, your asthma care provider will determine your level of severity and create a treatment plan. At each follow-up visit, they will assess your asthma control and adjust your treatment plan as needed.
Don’t Miss: Will Allergy Shots Help My Asthma
Why Is It Difficult To Diagnose My Childs Asthma
We thank Ethans mother for sharing his asthma journey. Asthma is the most common long-term health condition in childhood. One in 11 children in the UK have the diagnosis of asthma . Asthma is a heterogenous inflammatory condition of the lungs manifesting by wheeze, cough and breathlessness . Proper use of regular inhaled steroids reduces the inflammation and thereby improves the asthma symptoms. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines recommend the use of the following parameters for the diagnosis of asthma: history of wheeze, peak flow variability of> 20%, spirometry showing evidence of airway obstruction, bronchodilator reversibility of> 12% and/or high exhaled nitric oxide > 35 parts/billion. The difficulty in performing these tests routinely, particularly in those< 6 years old, remains a challenge. Unfortunately, in children, the assessment of response to a trial of inhaled steroids and salbutamol remains a common method of diagnosing asthma.
What Tests Are Done To Check For Asthma
A doctor normally checks for a patients asthma by asking about symptoms and family history. A physical examination, including a discussion of the patients smoking habits, is also part of the examination. These things may seem a little strange and unnecessary, but your doctor is checking for asthma by asking about your symptoms. Symptoms of asthma include:.
Read Also: How Many Kids In The Us Have Asthma
How Is A Spirometry Test Performed
Your healthcare provider will explain your results.
Some people who have asthma will have a normal spirometry test. If this is the case, you may be asked to take another test to confirm the diagnosis of asthma, like a methacholine challenge or exercise test.
*Infants and small children under 5-6 years old usually cannot do the spirometry test. Young childrens asthma is typically diagnosed based on signs and symptoms , family history, history of allergies, and their response to asthma medications.