Asthma in Children (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Diagnosing asthma can be difficult and time-consuming because different children with asthma can have very different patterns of symptoms. For example, some kids cough at night but seem fine during the day, while others seem to get frequent chest colds that don't go away.
To establish a diagnosis of asthma, a doctor rules out every other possible cause of a child's symptoms. The doctor asks questions about the family's asthma and allergy history, performs a physical exam, and possibly orders laboratory tests (see Tests Used to Diagnose Asthma). Be sure to provide the doctor with as many details as possible, no matter how unrelated they might seem. In particular, keep track of and report the following:
This information helps the doctor understand a child's pattern of symptoms, which can then be compared to the characteristics of different categories of asthma (see below).
The criteria for a diagnosis of asthma are
Categories of asthma
The severity of asthma is classified based on how often the symptoms occur and how bad they are, including symptoms that happen at night, the characteristics of episodes, and lung function. These classifications do not always work well in children because lung function is difficult to measure in younger children. Also, children often have asthma that is triggered by infections, and this kind of asthma does not fit into any category. A child's symptoms can be categorized into one of four main categories of asthma, each with different characteristics and requiring different treatment approaches.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/30/2014
Girish Sharma, MD
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