Asthma: symptoms and diagnosis

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways. Persons susceptible to asthma get symptoms associated with the inflammation. The symptoms usually include an airway constriction of variable degree, which is relieved spontaneously or with treatment. Common symptoms include dyspnoea, wheezing and prolonged cough. The inflammation increases the sensitivity of the airways to many irritants. Auscultation of the lungs, spirometry, bronchodilatation test, peak expiratory flow (PEF) monitoring and chest x-ray are the basic examinations. Other examinations may be performed in uncertain cases or when a more exact classification of the disease is pursued.