Skip to content
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
/assets/MEE/svg/default.svg Asthma

Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Asthma

Phone number forFor Appointments

Overview

Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the passageways carrying air to and from the lungs. The most common test used to diagnose asthma is a pulmonary function test (or spirometry), in which a computerized device measures airflow when a patient breaths in and out. In patients with asthma, these passageways react to triggers such as allergens, chemicals and viruses by inflaming and narrowing the airways. This makes it difficult to breathe and often results in a high-pitched sound (wheezing) or frequent coughing.

4Common Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness, pain or pressure

Diagnosis and Treatment

In very small children, asthma is diagnosed by a physician based on symptoms or response to medication. The most common test used to diagnose asthma is a pulmonary function test (or spirometry), in which a computerized device measures airflow when a patient breaths in and out. If a diagnosis of asthma is made, your child's physician will likely prescribe two kinds of medications: one to control the condition (controller medications) and another to treat sudden symptom attacks (rescue medications). 

Meet Our Team

We bring together physicians, speech-language pathologists, and other healthcare professionals to provide treatment to patients suffering from breathing troubles.


Related Conditions

Did you know?

Related Reading