Diagnosing Asthma

Your doctor/nurse will record a patient history. He may ask you the following questions;

  • How long have you had asthma like symptoms?
  • How frequent are the symptoms and how they affect your quality of life?
  • Have you had an attack or recurrent attacks of wheezing?
  • Do you have a troublesome cough at night?
  • Do you wheeze or cough after exercise?
  • Does the patient experience wheezing, chest tightness, or cough after exposure to airborne allergens or pollutants?
  • Do your colds "go to the chest" or take more than 10 days to clear up?
  • Are symptoms improved by appropriate asthma treatment?
  • Is there a family history of asthma?


The following tests may be performed by your doctor to confirm the correct diagnosis.

  1. Spirometry is a simple breathing test that gives measurements of lung function including a reversibility test that measures lung function before and after a dose of reliever to see if it has improved your lung function. This can be helpful with asthma diagnosis.
  2. Peak Expiratory flow rate measurements (PEFR); another simple breathing test which may be measured over a period of time, when one has symptoms or even when symptom free, performed in a GP surgery, hospital and even at home.
  3. An exercise test to check if exercise worsens your symptoms.