This chapter reviews the features of the clinical history that indicate a diagnosis of asthma, the approach to establishing the diagnosis, and the tests that may be employed in confirming the diagnosis. Recommendations are provided for when to refer to an asthma specialist for a consultation or for ongoing care. The chapter also describes the goal of therapy in asthma and recommends methods for monitoring asthma, along with specific strategies to improve asthma care and to enhance communication between the health care provider and the patient. Much of the content comes directly from the recent Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-NHLBI National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (1). Other recent NIH publications that may provide a valuable resource for the clinician are listed (2-8).
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