Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Asthma Diagnosis: A Tricky Journey?

Getting an asthma diagnosis can sometimes be tricky and take a while and multiple doctors to ascertain. Our 2018 Asthma in America survey shows that 2/3rd of respondents had to go to more than 1 doctor to receive an asthma diagnosis.

A study shows that mild-to-moderate asthma is tricky to diagnose and therefore remains undiagnosed in all ages.1 As also seen in our 2018 Asthma in America survey, for most patients (71%) asthma is diagnosed using a physical examination and assessment of symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. Definitive diagnostic tests like lung function test and spirometry were used for getting an asthma diagnosis in 61% and 60% of patients, respectively.

Given these findings, it’s not a surprise that up to 30% of asthma diagnoses are incorrect.2,3

To learn more about their diagnosis, we asked Facebook community the age at which they received an official diagnosis. In this video, we summarize what you all said and provide a glimpse of the diagnosis journey, and more importantly, how tricky it has been for some community members to get an asthma diagnosis.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Yeatts, K., Shy, C., Sotir, M., et al. Health consequences for children with undiagnosed asthma-like symptoms. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 157, 540–544, (2003).
  2. Aaron SD, Vandemheen KL, Boulet LP, et al; Canadian Respiratory Clinical Research Consortium. Overdiagnosis of asthma in obese and nonobese adults. CMAJ. 2008;179:1121-1131.
  3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Draft guideline to improve asthma diagnosis. Press release, 1/28/15. Accessed 2/7/15 at, G, Pandey, OP, et al. A Nasal Brush-based Classifier of Asthma Identified by Machine Learning Analysis of Nasal RNA Sequence Data. (2018)8:8826.


  • Shellzoo
    12 months ago

    I was 52 and had gone in for allergy shots and mentioned I had been wheezing for a few days but by then they had stopped. Did not get the shots but got a FeNo test and spirometry and was given an inhaler and sent on my way. I know previously asthma had been suspected by doctors but even though I had many of the symptoms, I never had wheezes so never was worked up for it or treated. Now I am told I most likely had asthma for a long time. I wish it were easier and even a standard to assess for asthma so people can be treated earlier and hopefully have less problems later. Thanks for the video. You realize you are not alone out there.

  • Poll