If you’ve been experiencing symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness, you may be wondering if you have asthma. One of the key tools in asthma diagnosis is a test known as the Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) test. This test measures the levels of nitric oxide in your breath, which can help determine if you have asthma. Here you will read about the importance of the FeNO test in asthma diagnosis, how it works, and what the results mean.
Understanding Asthma and Its Diagnosis
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in the lungs, causing them to become inflamed and narrow. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Asthma diagnosis involves a series of tests to confirm the condition and rule out other potential causes of these symptoms. The Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) test is a crucial part of this diagnostic process in addition to Spirometry.
What is the FeNO Test?
The Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide test is a simple, non-invasive test that measures the levels of nitric oxide in your breath. Nitric oxide is a gas that your body produces naturally. However, if your airways are inflamed – a common symptom of asthma – your body may produce more nitric oxide than usual. By measuring the levels of this gas in your breath, doctors can get a better idea of whether or not asthma is the cause of your symptoms.
How Does the FeNO Test Work in Asthma Diagnosis?
During the FeNO test, you’ll be asked to breathe into a small, handheld device. The device measures the amount of nitric oxide in your breath, providing a quick and easy way to assess inflammation in the airways. It’s a painless procedure and provides immediate results, making it a convenient option for both doctors and patients.
The FeNO test is particularly useful in asthma diagnosis because it can help differentiate asthma from other conditions with similar symptoms, such as bronchitis or heart disease. It can also help doctors determine how well your asthma is being managed if you’ve already been diagnosed.
Interpreting Your FeNO Test Results
The results of your FeNO test will be given in parts per billion (ppb). A higher ppb indicates more nitric oxide in your breath, which can suggest inflammation in your airways and support an asthma diagnosis.
Here’s a general guide for interpreting FeNO test results:
- Less than 25 ppb: This is considered normal and usually indicates that asthma is not likely.
- 25 to 50 ppb: This suggests some airway inflammation and asthma may be a possibility.
- Over 50 ppb: This is considered high and is strongly indicative of asthma.
Remember, asthma is diagnosed clinically but the diagnosis should be supported by objective testing. The FeNO test is just one tool they may use to help make an accurate diagnosis.
The Benefits of FeNO Testing in Asthma Diagnosis
The FeNO test offers several benefits in the process of asthma diagnosis:
- Non-invasive and painless: The FeNO test simply requires you to breathe into a device, making it a comfortable option for all patients, including children.
- Quick results: Results are available immediately, allowing for swift diagnosis and treatment.
- Personalised treatment: By measuring airway inflammation, the FeNO test can help your doctor personalise your asthma treatment plan.
If you are concerned that you may have asthma or if you wondering if your asthma isn’t well controlled book your consultation now.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.