Asthma usually is diagnosed based on your history of
symptoms, a physical exam, lung function tests, and laboratory tests. Unless
you are having symptoms, the physical exam will not show signs of asthma. Your
doctor will examine your nose, mouth, throat, and sinuses (upper respiratory system); ears; chest; and skin. Your doctor
Examine your nose for signs of increased nasal
drainage, swelling inside the nose, and
mucus-producing tissues that project into the nose
Examine your throat for
signs of drainage, which indicates
inflammation and infection in your sinuses (sinusitis).
Listen to your chest for
wheezing, which indicates blockage of airflow in the
Check for rapid or shallow breathing. He or she also will
listen to your breathing for prolonged, forceful exhaling and a high-pitched
sound (stridor) heard only when inhaling, which may indicate reduced airflow in
the windpipe (trachea).
Examine your chest for signs that you are
using your chest muscles to breathe (the skin between, above, and under the
ribs collapses inward with each breath).
Listen to your heart for
rapid heartbeat and signs of heart problems related to difficulty
Examine your fingers for the absence of an angle at the
nail and rounding of the fingertips (clubbing), sometimes seen in people with
other lung diseases.
Examine your skin for signs of an allergic
condition, such as
atopic dermatitis (eczema). People with allergies are
more likely than other people to develop asthma.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.