Is It Really Asthma or Could It Be Something Else?

 

We thank Methapharm for their sponsorship of this blog post to help us share information about asthma.

Recently, researchers studied more than 600 adults diagnosed with asthma in the past 5 years. They found that about one-third of them didn’t truly have asthma.1

If you are on a treatment plan for asthma but the treatment doesn’t seem to be working, you might not have asthma. Or you may need a different type of asthma medicine. If you’ve been misdiagnosed, you might be trying to treat a condition you don’t have – and at the same time possibly ignoring a condition you really have.

Diagnosing asthma can be trickier than you think. There is no single test to determine if you have asthma. Lung function tests can help your doctor with your diagnosis.

Lung function tests measure your breathing. If your symptoms and tests don’t give your doctor a clear answer to make an asthma diagnosis, methacholine (meh-thah-KOH-leen) testing can be used to rule out asthma. It checks how sensitive airways are in people with respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and chest tightness, when the diagnosis of asthma is uncertain.

If a methacholine test is negative, you might not have asthma. There are many conditions that have some of the same symptoms of asthma. It’s very important to make sure you’re getting the right diagnosis.

Visit IsItAsthma.com to learn more about asthma diagnosis and conditions with similar symptoms. The site has a list of conditions with asthma-like symptoms, as well as a conversation guide you can download for free to take to your next doctor's appointment.

References
1. Shawn D. Aaron, Katherine L. Vandemheen, J. Mark FitzGerald, Martha Ainslie, Samir Gupta, Catherine Lemière, Stephen K. Field, R. Andrew McIvor, Paul Hernandez, Irvin Mayers, Sunita Mulpuru, Gonzalo G. Alvarez, Smita Pakhale, Ranjeeta Mallick, Louis-Philippe Boulet. Revaluation of Diagnosis in Adults With Physician-Diagnosed Asthma. JAMA. 2017;317(3):269–279. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19627.

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