Methods used for asthma diagnosis – symptoms and instrumental tests

Sigitas Filipauskas1, Ilja Skalskis1, Paulius Vargalis1 

1 Faculty of Medicine, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania



Asthma is a heterogeneous chronic disease with many definitions in the literature. The disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways, causing a variety of respiratory symptoms and signs, such as: reversible airway obstruction, wheezing, cough, and dyspnea, but these signs are not specific to asthma. This is why differential diagnosis with other respiratory diseases is particularly important, as each patient may experience asthma differently: some experience symptoms episodically during strenuous exercise, others exclusively at night, and still others at rest, or continuously. There are people for whom asthma is a minor discomfort, for others it can be a major problem that disrupts daily activities and can lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. It is not possible to cure this disease, but by successfully diagnosing and starting timely treatment, asthma symptoms can be perfectly controlled. It is the most common chronic respiratory disease that affects people from childhood to old age. The care of an asthma patient requires complex collaboration between healthcare professionals and the patient, well-selected diagnostic tests to diagnose and monitor the disease in a timely and accurate manner, and untimely diagnosis imposes a heavy burden on health care. Because both hyperdiagnosis and inadequate diagnosis are of great concern, accurate diagnosis is vital to optimizing health and improving quality of life and survival. The diagnosis of asthma is aided by the patient’s detailed history of family morbidity, risk factors, smoking or passive smoking, already identified allergies, various medications, and symptoms. Equally important is the physical examination of the patient during auscultation of the lungs. Various instrumental tests, such as spirometry, bronchial challenge sample (BPM), and serum Ig E detection, help to confirm or rule out the diagnosis. The results of studies performed, and recurrent exacerbations of asthma exacerbations may be signs of severe asthma.

Keywords: asthma, asthma diagnostic, spirometry, bronchial challange test.