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Have you been diagnosed with asthma? It might not be

It may be a shock to be diagnosed with a chronic breathing condition like asthma. Asthma has long-term implications; it's not something you can recover from. Yes, it's controllable for most people, but it's still a condition with the potential to cause life-threatening conditions in minutes.

The interesting thing about asthma is how often it is diagnosed incorrectly. In fact, it's believed that around one in three adults who believe they have asthma actually suffer from other conditions. Getting a diagnosis is important, but using the right tools is vital.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma is diagnosed with the help of a tool called a spirometer. The device measures how well you can exhale and inhale. Without this test, patients complaining of symptoms like breathlessness or shortness of breath may be misdiagnosed. Asthma may be, as a result, overdiagnosed. That means that patients start lifelong treatments when those treatments won't really help.

In one study performed by an American professor of medicine using Canadian patients, it was discovered that roughly a third were misdiagnosed. Around 29 percent had no asthma, whereas a third had symptoms as a result of heartburn or allergies instead. A few people had serious conditions misdiagnosed including other forms of chronic lung diseases and heart disease, which can present with similar symptoms.

Getting an appropriate diagnosis is important. If a medical provider misdiagnosed you and incorrectly told you that you had asthma, it's within your rights to pursue a legal claim. Tests are there for a reason, and they should be used to confirm a diagnosis if there is any uncertainty.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "1 in 3 adults diagnosed with asthma may not have it, study suggests," Amy Norton, accessed May 17, 2018

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