How to Test for Asthma

Man taking asthma test

Asthma is a common respiratory condition that affects over 300 million people worldwide. However, diagnosing asthma isn’t always straightforward. Up to 30% of people might be diagnosed with asthma who don’t really have it. On the other hand, asthma is also under-diagnosed. The confusion occurs because many symptoms associated with asthma, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, can mimic those of other respiratory conditions or even non-respiratory issues — especially among children.

So, how do you know if you really have asthma? In this blog post, we’ll look at how to test for asthma so you can have more confidence in your diagnosis and get the right treatment. 

In this post:

  • Understanding Asthma
  • When to Seek a Medical Evaluation
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Asthma Dos & Don’ts

Understanding Asthma

Before diving into the diagnostic process, let’s briefly understand what asthma is. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the airways in the lungs. When triggered by certain factors such as allergens, exercise or respiratory infections, the airways become inflamed and narrow, leading to symptoms like coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can vary in frequency from person to person.

When to Seek a Medical Evaluation

If you’re experiencing symptoms suggestive of asthma, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation from a healthcare professional. Your GP or a lung specialist can conduct a thorough assessment to determine whether your symptoms are due to asthma or another underlying condition. They may ask you:

If you already have an asthma diagnosis, your symptoms and their severity usually do change over time, so it is important to have annual reviews and spirometry tests. Never decide you don’t have asthma and stop carrying your inhaler before having such a review.

Diagnostic Tests

To diagnose asthma, healthcare providers may perform several diagnostic tests, including:

Asthma Dos & Don’ts

Seek medical evaluation for asthma symptoms.
Don’t ignore asthma symptoms.
Provide a thorough medical history.
Don’t stop asthma medications without consulting.
Undergo spirometry testing for lung function.Don’t self-diagnose asthma.
Follow healthcare provider’s asthma management plan.Don’t overlook potential triggers.
Use inhaler as prescribed for symptom control.Don’t skip annual asthma reviews.

Main takeaways

  • Asthma is a chronic lung condition triggered by factors like allergens or exercise, causing symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • Seek evaluation if you experience asthma symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for a thorough assessment of your symptoms, triggers, and medical history.
  • Diagnostic tests like spirometry and peak flow monitoring help confirm asthma diagnosis and guide treatment decisions.
  • If diagnosed with asthma, undergo regular reviews and spirometry tests to monitor symptoms and lung function.
  • Never stop asthma medication without consulting a healthcare provider.


Dharmage, S. et al. (2019). Epidemiology of Asthma in Children and Adults

Kavanagh, J. et al. (2019). Over- and under-diagnosis in asthma

Marks, MB. (1984). Respiratory tract allergy to household pet birds

Tiotiu, A. et al. (2021). The Impact of Tobacco Smoking on Adult Asthma Outcomes


PillSorted is a full service pharmacy that delivers trusted pharmacy products, over-the counter medications, and the prescriptions your doctor recommends for your asthma treatment, directly to your door. Your PillSorted pharmacist is happy to answer your questions about asthma and treatments at 033 4050380 or help@pillsorted.com.

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