What to Expect at an Asthma Screening
Your primary care doctor may refer you to an allergist if he or she suspects that you might have asthma. Some of the possible signs of asthma include chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. The allergist will perform an asthma screening, which will include one or more simple tests. An asthma screening may also be appropriate for previously diagnosed patients. In this case, the screening is done to assess how well the asthma is controlled.
Like other medical appointments, your asthma screening will begin with a review of your medical history. It’s helpful to bring a list of your prescribed and over-the-counter medications and supplements. You’ll also need to disclose any medical conditions you’ve already been diagnosed with. Then, you’ll be asked about your symptoms. Some of the questions you might be asked include:
- What are your symptoms?
- When do you experience symptoms?
- Does anything seem to trigger your symptoms?
- Do you have frequent exposure to chemical irritants, airborne particles, or tobacco smoke?
- Do you have allergies?
After you answer questions about your health history and symptoms, you’ll take one or more breathing tests. These tests may include:
- Peak flow: Measures how hard you can exhale.
- Spirometry: Measures how much air you can exhale and how fast you can exhale. This test evaluates the narrowing of the bronchial tubes.
You may be asked to take a medication after doing lung function tests. A class of medications called bronchodilators work to open the airway. Then, you may be asked to take the lung function tests again. If your results improve, this could indicate that you have asthma.
If your screening reveals that you do have asthma, the doctor will begin planning your asthma treatment. You should take the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the condition, your triggers, and your lifestyle. The doctor will make sure you fully understand your treatment recommendations before you leave the appointment.
You can schedule your asthma screening at Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM. Our team of asthma specialists serves patients in Blue Bell, Center City, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. You can get in touch at 1(800)86-COUGH.