For asthma sufferers, if an attack involves a visit to a doctor or hospital it is advantageous to know what tests and examinations are likely to take place.
For family members and friends, it could also be useful to know what the professionals will be doing.
Each asthma attack can be classified as severe, moderate or mild; this will be the first assessment that will be made. In the case of a mild case the patient themselves may well be able to indicate this to the doctor or nurses in attendance.
There are three factors that are monitored to determine how strong the attack is for the patient. Firstly the degree of obstruction of the airway and this can be determined by the use of a spirometer. Other equipment than can be used is the oximetry or a peak flow meter.
Usually medical staff will have their own preferred method which they will use or sometimes medical or hospital practice will have its own guidelines. A chest x ray may also be taken if there is the slightest concern over the patient’s condition.
The next consideration is the duration of the attack along with its severity. After that the effect it is having on regular activities will be assessed as well.
Mild to moderate attacks involve coughing, wheezing, restless sleep patterns and tightness of the chest. Far less common are severe attacks which will be shown by breathlessness, lips turning blue and difficulty in talking. Medical notes will be checked to help with a diagnosis.