Traditional Asthma Assessments
Healthcare providers often use traditional assessments when diagnosing asthma and assessing your response to different asthma therapies, asthma control, and breathing and lung function. You may complete one or more of these assessments alone or with other standard assessment measures. The results of these traditional asthma assessments provide your healthcare provider with information about your lung and breathing function.
Spirometry is one of the most common tools that healthcare providers use when diagnosing and assessing asthma. A spirometry test measures your breathing function. It measures the amount of airflow in and out of the lungs and the speed at which it happens.
The spirometry assessment involves a spirometer, a handheld device you put in your mouth. You take a deep breath in and then force the air out. Your healthcare provider will instruct you to take two puffs of your asthma medication, like an inhaled steroid. You will then repeat the process.
Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide Asthma Test (FeNO)
People with asthma have higher nitric oxide levels 1. Nitric oxide is a gas produced in the lungs to fight off inflammation. High levels of nitric oxide are a hallmark feature of asthma. Thus, healthcare providers periodically measure exhaled nitric oxide levels with the fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) assessment. The FeNO is another traditional assessment that healthcare providers use for diagnosing and assessing asthma and asthma control.
Completing the FeNO Assessment
The FeNO assessment is similar to the spirometry assessment in that they both use handheld breathing devices. Also, they both provide your healthcare provider with information on your breathing and help determine any abnormalities. However, for the FENO test, you take in a deep breath and breathe out until your lungs are empty. You complete that step just one time. The device calculates a score for your healthcare provider to interpret.