Diagnosis | What is an asthma attack?


In the case of asthma, the typical clinic with attacks of shortness of breath leads to the first suspected diagnosis. Therefore the medical history plays a decisive role. Then comes the physical examination.

However, this is usually unremarkable outside the acute attack. To confirm the diagnosis, a pulmonary function test must be performed. This is carried out in hospital or by an internist / pulmonologist (lung specialist).

Certain values in the lung function examination indicate the presence of bronchial asthma. A provocation test must often be carried out. The patient must therefore be confronted with the substance that is likely to trigger a seizure.

Then the lung function is examined again. In order to prove the presence of asthma, a so-called bronchospasmolysis test is often performed during the lung function examination. Here, after the provocation test, in which a narrowing of the airways occurs, a drug is administered to widen the airways again.

If this leads to an improvement in lung function, the diagnosis of bronchial asthma is confirmed. If necessary, further blood tests may be necessary to obtain information about the substances causing the attack. Could it be COPD after all? Could it be COPD after all?

Asthma attack in a child

An asthma attack in children is similar to an asthma attack in adults. After contact with the trigger, there are coughing attacks, shortness of breath, breathing sounds such as whistling and increasing shortness of breath. The children usually notice for themselves that an upright sitting position with the arms resting on the thighs/knees is most helpful to make breathing a little easier. Just as with adults, the immediate application of an emergency spray is of vital importance.

Why does an asthma attack occur especially at night?

At night the probability of suffering an asthma attack is particularly high. This is probably related to the fact that the airways are particularly narrow at night. This leads to coughing attacks, especially at night, which in turn can trigger an asthma attack because of the irritation of the airways.