Asthma symptoms come and go for the majority of people with the condition. So it’s very common for patients not to have obvious asthma symptoms when they arrive at the doctor’s office. You may cough and wheeze all week only to have no asthma symptoms when you see the doctor. This makes diagnosing asthma more difficult — but you can help.

Keep a daily asthma diary by jotting down whenever you have respiratory symptoms. Also, write down any factors or exposures that may have caused your respiratory symptoms. Your doctor or health care provider can review the diary, ask questions, do a brief physical examination, and perhaps do a lung function test. Using all of this information, your health care provider can usually make an accurate asthma diagnosis.