If you've been struggling with the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), talking to your doctor is the first step to feeling better. Your physician can walk you through treatment options to help you regain your healthy, active lifestyle. To get the most out of your doctor's appointment, it's good to be prepared. Here are a few tips on talking with your doctor about COPD.
- Bring a friend: Managing chronic breathing problems can be easier with a good support system. Diana E. Lee (via Kevin Pho’s website) suggests you ask a close friend or family member to join you for your medical visit. Having someone you trust at your side can give you a confidence boost and emotional support as you learn about COPD.
- Take note of your symptoms: Have you been feeling weak and tired? Have trouble sleeping? Are you coughing a lot and feeling like it's getting worse? When you notice symptoms that might be related to COPD, take note of them so you can discuss them with your doctor. That way you can talk about a treatment plan that will best suit your needs. It's also beneficial to take note of how your COPD symptoms have affected your lifestyle. Ask yourself if you feel like you've been slowed down by your symptoms, if you worry about exerting yourself and causing a flare up or if you find it's difficult to perform everyday tasks. These are all important concerns to bring up with your doctor.
- Know your medical history: Does someone in your family have COPD? Do you have a history of childhood lung infections? Have you had chronic exposure to dust or chemicals? Are you a smoker? All of these are potential risk factors for COPD, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Knowing your medical history alone is rarely enough to diagnose your COPD. Doctors often order medical tests to confirm a COPD diagnosis. But your detailed medical history will be a helpful resource for your doctor as he or she moves forward with diagnosis and creating a treatment plan.
- Write down your questions: It's easy to be intimidated when you're taking on a whole new challenge. And it's easy for your mind to go blank right when you know you have a hundred questions to ask. That's why it's a good idea to write down your questions as they occur to you in the weeks or days before your appointment. Remember, you're on an information-gathering mission. The more you learn about COPD, the better prepared you'll be to manage it into the future. You can find sample questions to ask
- Take notes: You took the time to write down your questions before your appointment, why not have a record of the answers? Bring a small notebook and jot some notes as you go over your questions with your doctor. That way, you don't have to stress about remembering everything your doctor tells you. You can go back to your notes when you get home or pull them out after a few weeks to refresh your memory.
As you learn more about COPD, remember there are treatments and solutions that will help you maintain a fulfilling lifestyle. To learn about the freedom of portable oxygen, watch this informative video.