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Diagnosis

Physical Examination and Medical History

The first step in diagnosing asthma is a good evaluation. In many cases, a diagnosis of asthma is made based upon your history and symptoms at the time of evaluation. The family history should also be considered, as a positive family history increases a person's chances of developing asthma.

Diagnostic Tests

Your doctor may have you perform a number of tests to evaluate breathing. These may include:

  • Detailed medical history and physical exam
  • Breathing tests called spirometry
  • Chest and sinus X-rays

Specific tests that may be conducted in diagnosing asthma are explained in more detail:

  • Bronchial Provocation Test
  • Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction Test
  • Routine Pulmonary Function Test

Asthma Control Test

The Asthma Control Test can help you determine if your asthma is controlled as well as it could be. And it can help start a conversation with your doctor about better ways to manage your asthma.

Instructions

  1. Answer each question as honestly as possible
  2. Write down the number of each answer
  3. Add the numbers for your score
  4. Discuss the score with your doctor

Question #1

In the past 4 weeks, how much of the time did your asthma keep you from getting as much done at work, school or at home?

  1. All of the time
  2. Most of the time
  3. Some of the time
  4. A little of the time
  5. None of the time

Question #2

During the past 4 weeks, how often have you had shortness of breath?

  1. All of the time
  2. Most of the time
  3. Some of the time
  4. A little of the time
  5. None of the time

Question #3

During the past 4 weeks, how often did your asthma symptoms (wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, or pain) wake you up at night or earlier than usual in the morning?

  1. All of the time
  2. Most of the time
  3. Some of the time
  4. A little of the time
  5. None of the time

Question #4

During the past 4 weeks, how often have you used your rescue inhaler or nebulizer medication (such as albuterol)?

  1. All of the time
  2. Most of the time
  3. Some of the time
  4. A little of the time
  5. None of the time

Question #5

How would your rate your asthma control during the past 4 weeks?

  1. Not controlled at all
  2. Poorly controlled
  3. Somewhat controlled
  4. Well controlled
  5. Completely controlled

What does my score mean?

If your score is 19 or less, your asthma may not be controlled as well as it could be. Discuss your results with your doctor.

Contact Information

Allergy and Inflammation - Research
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Center for Life Science, 9th floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-723-4110
617-735-4115