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Diagnosing Asthma

Asthma can be diagnosed by your health professional from the history and examination alone and many children with mild asthma may not require any testing. In the first instance your health professional may give your child a trial of medication to see if this helps. This is in part a diagnostic test because if the treatments help then that supports a diagnosis of asthma

The commonest test used to assess asthma is spirometry, this can either be performed as full spirometry or as a peak flow. A peak flow meter measures the peak amount of air that can be forced out of the lungs. In asthmatics this is reduced. Peak flow measurements can be useful is assessing a response to treatment and many older children and adults will have a peak flow meter at home and they will be encouraged to keep a peak flow measurement diary. Your health professional may also request some allergy tests if they feel that inhaled or oral allergens are contributing to the asthma.

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