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Tests for asthma

Investigations

Complete blood counts.

Especially for eosinophil counts. Marginally high eosinophil count suggests an allergic element. Moderately high eosinophil count (>20 per cent) suggest tropical pulmonary eosinophilia, which have symptoms similar to asthma.

Lung function tests.

Asthma can often be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms. However, measurements of lung function, particularly the reversibility of lung function abnormalities, help in confirmation of diagnosis. Lung function measurements that are most helpful for the diagnosis of asthma include forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow (PEF) and airway hyper-responsiveness.
Chest X-ray.

In asthma, chest radiogram may be normal or show enhanced bronchial markings.

Measurements of Allergic Status

Measurements of allergic status add little to the diagnosis of asthma but can help in the identification of risk factors so that appropriate environmental control measures can be recommended. The tests are -Skin Tests and Measurement of specific IgE.

Peak Flow Meter: The peak flow meter is a device to find out if there is narrowing in the airways even before symptoms of asthma appear. The peak flow meter helps to:
•    Decide if the medicines are effective.
•    Decide when to add or stop medicine.
•    Decide when to seek emergency care.

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