4 Standard Tests Doctors Use to Diagnose Asthma

Because its symptoms are quite common, asthma can be hard to distinguish from similar respiratory conditions. For example, coughing and wheezing are typical symptoms of asthma but they can also be present in allergies. To do diagnose asthma, doctors do a couple of standard tests.

Here are the most common tests to diagnose asthma.


One of the first tests to diagnose asthma is spirometry. This procedure measures the amount of air you’re able to breathe in and breathe out. It’s also used to see how quickly you can exhale. All you need to do is breathe into a spirometer – a small machine that assesses your lung function.

Allergy Tests

To exclude allergies as a potential cause of your respiratory problems, the doctor will sometimes order allergy testing. This is done through the skin – the doctor will puncture your skin with a needle which has a diluted allergen on it. After 15 minutes your skin will react if you’re allergic to the suspected allergen.

Chest X-Ray

To rule out conditions like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung cancer, the doctor will need an X-ray. This will allow the doctor to see a detailed picture of your lungs and check if there are any anomalies that could be causing a blockage in your airways.

IgE Blood Test

This test is used to check your immunoglobulin E levels – an antibody produced by the immune system that indicates the presence of a foreign invader. If your IgE levels are high, there is a chance you could have allergic asthma.


Any of these tests to diagnose asthma can exclude other similar conditions and point your doctor in the right direction. So, if your doctor orders some of these tests, you know what you can expect.

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