Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you should already know how imperative it is for your treatment that you maintain and attend all regularly scheduled doctor's appointments. Not only is it important to attend appointments but also that you openly communicate with your doctor about everything your feeling, as well as questions or concerns you may have about your COPD or treatment. To better understand your health and to know where to start in treatment, your doctor will ask about your families medical history, run some blood tests, and ask about any other previous medical conditions you may have. These baseline tests will help your doctor better manage your COPD, and help them better asses your progress as you regularly visit your doctor.
Be Prepared for Your Next COPD Appointment
Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask your doctor a question(s) about your treatment, or any concerns about an influx of symptoms you may be experiencing, because they are there to help and your treatment can be better applied to your health when your doctor knows exactly what your are experiencing and how your are feeling. Here are some tips to help you better take advantage of your next doctors appointment:
Gearing Up for Your Doctors Appointment
Before attending your appointment take a few minutes to recall any issues or complications you have had since your last visit:
- Write down any influx or development of symptoms you have been experiencing. This may include trouble sleeping, increased breathlessness during minimal activity, increased cough, etc.
- If you have any complications with medications that further intrude on your well being, be sure to make a note of those.
- If you are prescribed supplemental oxygen and you feel you are not being properly saturated then jot this down, then bring up and discuss a possible flow rate adjustment.
Attending doctor appointments can be a stressful thing for many patients, and since you have COPD additional stress is unnecessary but also dangerous for your health. The best way to relieve this stress is to ask a close friend or family member to attend medical appointments because a little support can go a long way. Also, the extra ears can help you remember specifics from the appointment that are often filled with lots of important information.
What You Should Bring Up During Your Appointment:
- If at any point your doctor tells your specific instructions, or says something you don't quite understand don't be embarrassed or shy about speaking up and asking for a more in depth description.
- Any and all questions should be answered truthfully, even if you think your doctor will not agree. The more open you are the better they can asses your COPD.
- Ask the questions or concerns that you wrote down before the appointment.
- Talk to him/her about any influx of symptoms you've been experiencing.
- Be honest about how well you stick to taking prescribed medication(s).
If you ever need to call into your doctors office but they are unavailable to speak, remember you can always ask the nurses. Nurses are extremely educated and hold a lot of beneficial knowledge and tips that may answer your question, so don't hesitate to shoot them a question.