What You Need to Know about a Nitric Oxide Test for Asthma

Asthma can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. You may wheeze or cough, but may not necessarily be doing this when you see your doctor. Fortunately, there’s a test available that, combined with other information, can help confirm the presence of asthma.

In this blog, pulmonologist Dr. Marc Bowen of MXBowen Physician P.C., Health & Breathing Center will tell what you need to know about the nitric oxide test for asthma.

What is nitric oxide testing for asthma?

If your doctor suspects that you have asthma, you’ll be asked about your medical history and symptoms and undergo a physical exam. In addition, tests may also be used to determine how well your lungs are working. However, even after these tests, an asthma diagnosis may be difficult to make.

If that’s the case, your doctor may recommend nitric oxide testing for asthma. Your body produces this molecule in areas such as the lungs to fight inflammation and relax constricted muscles. If your exhaled breath has high levels of this molecule, it can be a sign that you have inflamed airways and may help your doctor confirm a diagnosis of asthma.

Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with asthma and are taking steroid medication, a nitric oxide test can help your doctor determine how well the medicine is working. High nitric oxide levels could be an indication that your treatment needs to be adjusted.

How does nitric oxide testing for asthma work?

For at least two hours before the test, you’ll need to avoid using your asthma inhaler, eating and drinking, exercising, or using tobacco, toothpaste, or mouthwash.

You’ll be seated during the test and will be given a mouthpiece with a tube attached that leads to an electronic measurement device. Using the mouthpiece, you’ll breathe in for a few seconds and then exhale steadily. This will be repeated a few times in order to confirm the results.

Your doctor will be able to see the nitric oxide levels in your exhaled breath and can start or adjust your treatment based on the results.

What are the advantages?

This simple test has many advantages:

  • Convenience: performed in the doctor’s office
  • Speed: takes only about five minutes
  • Accuracy: results are accurate and can be very helpful in confirming a diagnosis of asthma
  • Good predictor of treatment effectiveness: can help predict the likelihood that your symptoms will respond well to anti-inflammatory/steroid treatments
  • Shows effectiveness of current treatment: for patients who are already being treated, the test helps your doctor know if your medication needs adjusting

Where can I find nitric oxide testing for asthma in NYC?

Dr. Marc Bowen is a New York City pulmonologist who has nearly three decades of experience in Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, and Internal Medicine. At his practice, MXBowen Physician P.C., Health & Breathing Center, he offers exams and testing to correctly diagnose the cause of issues such as shortness of breath or coughing. He offers the latest diagnostic tests and in-office procedures that enable him to get the information he needs while making the experience convenient and comfortable for patients.

If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma or have been experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath or coughing, make an appointment today with MXBowen Physician P.C., Health & Breathing Center. We’ll determine the cause of your symptoms by using tests such as nitric oxide testing for asthma and will then offer the most effective treatment available.

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