To determine whether you have astma, the general practitioner can refer you to a long function test.
Astma is a chronic inflammation of the airways that is accompanied by a narrowing of and increased irritability of the airways. This can cause shortness of breath, squeaking respiration and cough, and is often the result of an allergy. Even without allergy astma can occur, and it can occur at young age. Not everyone with shortness of breath or cough has astma. Distinctive of astma is that there are episodes with and without complaints.

COPD (Long emphysema)
Also with COPD does narrowing of the airways cause shortness of breath. COPD often occurs after the age of 40 with people who have smoked or have been exposed to certain substances for a longer period of time. With COPD there are no complaint-free episodes. The complaints can improve or stabilized with medication and temporarily increase with an airway infection.