medical tests for asthma

are there many people on here who have been given inhalers by their gp without going through the horrible flippin medical test at hosp (eg-that awful booth which sucks out all of the air etc). im just curious cos have recently heard of a couple of people who have been given inhalers and told they have asthma by their gp's nurse but didnt have any breathing tests done or asked any questions or given a referral...surely this cant be right can it? i would have much rather not have had to undergo these tests as they made me quite ill at the time so which is better?

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  • If your doc suspects you have asthma,and you have breathing problems

    they will give you meds to see if it helps,blue and brown inhalers,

    then usually refure you to a consultant to confirm you have it or not if they carnt get to the bottom of it.The tests are not 100% as it goes by how you are on the day of tests.

    Your doc knows you best and acts on the information you give him on how bad you are.

    they can listen to your chest etc and keep an eye on you.xxxxxx

  • I know when I was little, I was diagnosed based on symptoms and peakflow reversibility after using reliever medication, I can't recall the exact details but I think I had to keep a peakflow diary etc. As I got older, I was put under the care of a hospital for my asthma and have had various tests etc, this was because of the increasing severity of my asthma and due to so many hospital admissions, though at the time I was referred to a consultant after an admision rather than the GP. For most people with asthma, they won't need assessment by hospital as they can be adequately managed by GPs and asthma nurses. It is usually when a GP feels they can't manage a person's asthma alone or is unsure about a person's condition (i.e. whether it is asthma on its own or not at all) that a person gets referred to a hospital consultant for assessment and various tests.

  • I know when I was little, I was diagnosed based on symptoms and peakflow reversibility after using reliever medication, I can't recall the exact details but I think I had to keep a peakflow diary etc. As I got older, I was put under the care of a hospital for my asthma and have had various tests etc, this was because of the increasing severity of my asthma and due to so many hospital admissions, though at the time I was referred to a consultant after an admision rather than the GP. For most people with asthma, they won't need assessment by hospital as they can be adequately managed by GPs and asthma nurses. It is usually when a GP feels they can't manage a person's asthma alone or is unsure about a person's condition (i.e. whether it is asthma on its own or not at all) that a person gets referred to a hospital consultant for assessment and various tests.

  • Hi Jay,

    You raise a good point here. I have not been diagnosed, just told it is likely I have asthma. I was initially given the Reliever inhaler, and told to keep a PF diary. Three weeks later (a few days ago) I was given a Preventer – still with no diagnosis. There has been no suggestion of any kind of referral later on, nor any indication of if, how or when I will get some kind of concrete diagnosis. It’s not even been suggested I go back to the GP or nurse unless I feel the need.

    So, I have not been through the experience you describe at hospital, but although it does not sound pleasant, I personally would honestly rather go through the whole battery of tests by a specialist and get a firm diagnosis, rather than rely on what seems a bit of a hit and miss approach at the moment.

    Mind you, I may revise that opinion if I later undergo the tests and find them as unpleasant as you did!!

  • I was given that test, but only after saying about all the nasty chemicals i have been around in my time, so they checked for asbestos and alike, but was clear of them , strangely..Gaz

  • The guidelines that GPs follow categorise you into high probability of having asthma, intermediate probability and low probability based on your symptoms, medical history, and even family history.

    *Patients with a high probability go straight to a trial of treatment

    *Patients with an intermediate probability undergo tests the results of which are used to decide whether to prescribe a trial of treatment or to look into other conditions

    *Patients with low probability of asthma are tested/treated for conditions other than asthma to rule them out

    Features that increase the probability of asthma diagnosis:

    * more than one of the following symptoms - wheeze, chest tightness, breathlessness and cough, particularly if:

    ** symptoms worse at night and in the early morning

    ** symptoms in response to exercise, allergen exposure, and cold air

    ** symptoms after taking aspirin or beta blockers

    * history of atopic disorder

    * family history of asthma and/or atopic disorder

    * widespread wheeze heard on auscultation of the chest

    * otherwise unexplained low forced expiratory volume (FEV) or peak expiratory flow (PEF) (historical readings may be useful)

    * otherwise unexplained peripheral blood eosinophilia

    Features that lower the probability of asthma diagnosis:

    * prominent dizziness, light-headedness, peripheral tingling

    * cough in the absence of wheeze or breathlessness

    * repeatedly normal physical examination of chest when symptomatic

    * normal PEF or spirometry when symptomatic

    * voice disturbance

    * symptoms with colds only

    * chronic productive cough

    * cardiac disease

    You can see the guidance (short version) for yourself at brit-thoracic.org.uk/Portal...

    if you're interested.

  • you know there are two main reasons why i find it odd that people get asthma treatment without actually being 100% diagnosed (and im not talking about immediate treatment that helps short term in emergencie) 1st is it appropriate to take meds for the forseeable future without any follow up as the meds have steroids in which although in small amounts is still not good to be taking if you dont really need them and 2ndly is it not best to get a proper diagnosis with follow up tests and checks to make sure them meds are working and the asthma is under control.

    an example of what i mean:i have a close family member who is early teens, quite plump, does little exercise, eats junk (cos he can!), never gets colds (to be honest he doesnt mix or go outside apart from getting out of the car at the school gates and back again), who for obvious reasons gets out of breath very easily when he moves about as he is so unfit. he was taken to the docs cos he puffs and pants slightly when doing his 2hr lesson of PE a week. the doc who doesnt know him (oh and didnt examine his chest or ask any other questions) said sounds like asthma and gave him a preventer and a reliever on repeat prescription, but no follow up.he uses them i feel after watching him and i know this is only my opinion-when he wants to get out of moving around. surely he should have some sort of tests or a follow up. he is a big lad who needs exercise and really could do without long term steroid use. does this make sense?

  • Spirometer test linked to computer apparently produced results and graph which said without a doubt that I'd asthma. Asthma nurse wondered how with a peak flow of 250, I'd fallen under the radar for most of my life and not been diagnosed earlier. Knowing what I do now, I would put it down to the 'cough with no wheeze'.

    No wonder exercise made me breathless - wasn't purely down to being a stookie as my PE teachers said. With two years worth of inhalers now, I've worked my way up from 60% expected peak flow to 75%. Progress.

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