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Other Specific Conditions > Asthma > How is Asthma Diagnosed?
How Do I Know If I Have Asthma?  (How is Asthma Diagnosed?)
Asthma is diagnosed during a medical exam that checks breathing (lung function) and allergies. 
The health care provider may ask questions about:
  • Coughing (especially at night)
  • Difficulty breathing (especially after physical activity or when it’s hot or cold)
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Colds that last more than 10 days
  • Family histories of asthma and allergies
  • Your home environment: tobacco smoke, pets, heating systems, etc.
  • Days missed from school or work
Spirometry is a medical test that measures the breathing power of the lungs.  This is another way for a health care provider to diagnose asthma.  A piece of equipment called a spirometer is used.  The patient takes a deep breath, exhales completely, and then breaths into the spirometer.  The spirometer measures the amount of air a person can breathe and assists the health care provider to determine if the person has asthma.
Asthma is not always easy to diagnose, especially for children under the age of five.  Regular physical exams that include checks of lung breathing and checks for allergies can help health care providers to make the correct diagnosis.
The goal for people with asthma is to learn how to manage their asthma.  If you learn how to control your asthma, you can lead a healthy and active life.