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The Tests and Diagnosis of Occupational Asthma

The Tests and Diagnosis of Occupational Asthma



 The diagnosis of the occupational asthma attack is similar to the diagnosis of other types of allergic reactions. The difference is the doctor’s determination of whether there are triggers in the workplace caused the symptoms to appear. The doctor asks the person several questions, including the symptoms of the attack and the nature of the work of the person and the materials that used in, the person is required to provide a detailed description of his working environment, whether at present or in a previous period to know all the triggers that are exposed to, to know the reasons and to provide the correct treatment.

 Diagnosing of the occupational asthma attack requires many tests, including pulmonary function testing and skin test for allergies. The doctor may also recommend a blood test or X-ray to rule out other disorders such as bronchitis.

Pulmonary Function Test.

Among the pulmonary function tests:

  • Spirometry: It is a non-invasive test that measures a person’s ability to breathe, which is the best test for diagnosing the chest attacks. The period of the test is 10-15 minutes. The person holds his breath and then he releases the exhalation strongly through a hose connected to a device which is called Spirometry, If the main measuring is lower than the specific rate of their gender and age, this means that the airway is blocked by an inflammation. The doctor may recommend inhaling a bronchodilator drug used to treat the asthma attacks to open blocked air passages, then this test is performed again if there is an improvement at spirometry which also means that there is a possibility of an attack.
  • Pneumotachograph: To find out if a person is suffering from occupational asthma, The doctor may ask the patient to use pneumotachograph, which is a small hand-held device to measure how quickly air is released from the lung, Whenever the rate was slower, the more severe was the symptoms of the attack. The person is required to measure the output speed of the exhalation over different periods of the day, at work and at home. If the symptoms relieved by leaving work, this means that the person is suffering from occupational asthma.
  • Nitric Dioxide Test: Nitric dioxide is measured in the patient exhalation, high levels of it means that the person is suffering from an attack.

Asthma Triggers Test.

 To determine what causes the symptoms, the doctor will perform tests to measure the allergic reaction when you exposed to certain substances, including:

  • Allergy Skin Test: During the skin test, the skin is pricked then exposed to the allergen to detect any symptoms of allergies. This test can not be used to recognize the sensitivity of chemicals but it is only useful with those natural substances such as dandruff, mold, dust mite or natural rubber.
  • Bronchial challenge: The person inhales a spray containing a small amount of the suspect substances that are among the allergens to see if they will cause symptoms or not, also pulmonary function is tested before and after using the spray to determine if a person’s breathing capacity has decreased or not.

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