Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor for the disorder's most common symptom — shortness of breath. He or she might refer you to a doctor specializing in lung problems (pulmonologist).

What you can do

Before your appointment, you might want to write a list of answers to the following questions:

  • What are your symptoms and when did they start?
  • Have your symptoms stayed the same or gotten worse?
  • What kind of work have you done in your career? Be specific.
  • Have you been involved in any home-remodeling projects or other building renovations occurring over a long period of time?
  • Do you or did you smoke? If so, how much?
  • What medications and supplements do you take?

If you have had chest X-rays in the past, you might want to bring along copies of the images so your doctor can compare them to your current imaging tests.

What to expect from your doctor

During the physical exam, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen carefully to your lungs to determine if you make a crackling sound while inhaling.