If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) you know it's necessary to stay in touch with your doctor and work with him or her to ensure that you remain as healthy as possible. This means keeping regular appointments says the COPD Foundation, but it also means making the most of your time with the doctor.
Initially, your doctor will want to become familiar with your baseline conditions, your medical history and any other physical issues. He or she will want to examine you thoroughly and run blood tests, according to the COPD Foundation. This will give a good idea of where you are at the start of your treatment and help to assess how you're doing as you continue to see your doctor.
Preparing for your appointments
Before you go in for any appointment, sit down and think about how you've been doing. Write out:
- Any questions you have for your doctor. It can be easy to forget important questions when you’re actually in the office.
- Any physical changes or symptoms you’ve experienced since your last visit.
- All medications you’re taking for your COPD or any other conditions.
You may want to have a loved one go with you or take a tape recorder or note pad. Your doctor might have a lot of information for you, which can be difficult to remember. An appointment with even the most cordial doctor can be stressful, and this can impair your memory.
During your visit
- Never be embarrassed to ask questions when you don’t understand something or your doctor doesn't explain something to your satisfaction.
- Answer all of your doctor’s questions truthfully, even if they’re personal. Your doctor is only trying to help. Also, be honest about whether you’ve been diligent about taking your medications and following your treatment plan.
- Go over your list of questions and concerns.
- Remember, nurses and medical assistants are treasure troves of information. In fact, nurses and medical assistants are sometimes more accessible than the doctors themselves and can have very practical tips. Don't hesitate to ask them questions.
Doctors tend to be busy, so it's wise to make the most of your appointments. Smart use of your appointment time, following your treatment plan and using oxygen if it's prescribed can significantly boost the quality of your life. For more information, visit Do More With Oxygen.