Although there’s no precise or immediate diagnostic test, asthma is usually identified through a pattern of symptoms and how a patient responds to therapy.
Lung function tests are used in a differential diagnosis to rule out other lung diseases. Spirometry is a common test that’s used to assess breathing patterns and changes in asthmatics.
Doctors may then identify the allergen(s) or stimuli the person may be sensitive to, by testing for the specific IgE antibodies (e.g. using a skin prick test and serum assays).
Based on the results, an asthma management plan is developed in consultation with a specialist. Tailored inhaler therapy and minimising exposure to environmental triggers are the mainstay of ongoing treatment in the absence of a definitive cure.
The place of allergen desensitisation is still controversial and will require more research.
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