Unless you require emergency care, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a lung specialist (pulmonologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Recall when symptoms began and what you were doing at the time. Ask young children in a nonthreatening way about things they have put in their mouths.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking. Some medications, such as antihistamines, can make your secretions thicker and more difficult to cough out.
- Bring a sample of your sputum in a small container.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember everything that is said.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What course of action do you recommend?
- What are the alternatives to the approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment if you don't understand something or need more information.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
June 11, 2015
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you had a fever?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
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- What is atelectasis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atl#. Accessed April 3, 2015.
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- Questions are the answer: Do you know the right questions to ask? Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer. Accessed May 28, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Atelectasis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 28, 2015.
- Bronchiectasis and atelectasis. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary-disorders/bronchiectasis-and-atelectasis/atelectasis. Accessed May 29, 2015.