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How is occupational asthma diagnosed?

The history reveals a pattern of worsening symptoms associated with exposure to a specific agent or workplace environment. Making the association with the correct allergen can be very difficult. A careful, detailed history is essential to relate the occurrence of symptoms to work exposure. Pulmonary function tests given before and after the work shift may detect narrowing of the airways. Laboratory tests on blood and sputum may be useful. Special studies can sometimes confirm the diagnosis but inhalation of a suspected agent (challenge test) may be necessary. A physical examination of the chest is often normal if done several hours after exposure has taken place but is useful in ruling out other causes of shortness of breath. A chest X-ray is essential to exclude other lung disorders, but has no direct role in the diagnosis of occupational asthma.

 

More information on occupational asthma

What is occupational asthma? - Occupational asthma is a form of lung disease in which the breathing passages shrink, swell, or become inflamed or congested as a result of exposure to irritants in the workplace.
What causes occupational asthma? - There are many agents in the workplace that can cause occupational asthma. More than 240 causes of occupational asthma have been identified.
What're the symptoms of occupational asthma? - Symptoms and signs of occupational asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
How is occupational asthma diagnosed? - The history reveals a pattern of worsening symptoms of occupational asthma associated with exposure to a specific agent or workplace environment.
What's the treatment for occupational asthma? - The objective of treatment for occupational asthma is to limit exposure to the allergen and improve symptoms with bronchodilator therapy.
How to prevent occupational asthma? - Reduction in exposure to the occupational trigger is the most important step to prevent occupational asthma.
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