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• Proper patient history: It is essential to know the duration, when it happens (day/night), how often it happens, triggering factors, and to look out for alert signs.
• Physical examination: Auscultation of the chest is an important one.
• Radiograph of the chest: Chest X-ray shows changes in lung tissue in the form of white areas (swelling) or dark areas with no blood vessels (emphysema). It gives details about associated complications such as pneumonia, pneumothorax, or collapse.
• CT Chest: is carried out to study more minute changes in the lung parenchyma like thickening of the airway, trapping of air within the air-sacs, and widening of the airway passage. It helps in narrowing down the Asthma diagnosis from other diseases that can mimic asthma-like COPD or chronic bronchitis.
• Total Blood cells: There is an increase in white blood cells and increased ESR value due to allergic responses.
• Immunological tests: Increased serum levels of IgE
• Sputum microscopy: It detects the inflammatory cells (Charcot Leyden crystals, mast cells, Curschmann’s spirals) generally present in case of asthma.
• Pulse oximetry and arterial blood gas: It measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.
• Lung function test:
Spirometer devices are used to assess the pulmonary functioning in the form of how long the lung can hold, take in, and move out the air (less air in – restrictive type less air out- obstructive type of lung disease). It is also helpful in the assessment of the ongoing treatment and in grading the seriousness of the condition.
Peak flow monitors, measures the speed at which the air is being blown out by the lungs. There is a reduction in the rate at which air leaves the lung due to increased formation of mucus and swelling in the airways.
• Provocative testing: It is done for exercise and cold-induced asthma
• Methacholine test: On giving the drug to an individual, if the person reacts to it (drug causes mild tightening/constriction of the airways when inhaled), the test is positive.
• Measuring nitric oxide: Your breath helps in diagnosing asthma since inflamed airways have a higher concentration of nitric oxide levels.
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