If your primary care doctor suspects that you have COPD, you'll likely be referred to a pulmonologist, a doctor who specializes in lung disorders.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you might want to write a list of answers to the following questions:
- What symptoms are you experiencing? When did they start?
- What makes your symptoms worse? Better?
- Does anyone in your family have COPD?
- Have you had any treatment for COPD? If so, what was it and did it help?
- Have you ever taken beta blockers for your high blood pressure or heart?
- Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
- What medications and supplements do you take regularly?
You might want to have a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment. Often, two sets of ears are better than one when you're learning about a complicated medical problem, such as COPD. Take notes if this helps.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:
July 21, 2015
- How long have you had a cough?
- Do you get short of breath easily?
- Have you noticed any wheezing when you breathe?
- Do you or have you ever smoked cigarettes?
- Would you like help in quitting?
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- Longo DL, et al. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed June 3, 2015.
- What is COPD? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/. Accessed June 3, 2015.
- Standards for the diagnosis and management of patients with COPD. American Thoracic Society. http://www.thoracic.org/clinical/copd-guidelines/index.php. Accessed June 4, 2015.
- Hanley ME, et al. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Pulmonary Medicine. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2003. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=346§ionid=39883254. Accessed June 4, 2015.
- Foreman MG. Genes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Medical Clinics of North America. 2012;96:699.
- Rosenberg SR, et al. An integrated approach to the medical treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Medical Clinics of North America. 2012;96:811.
- AskMayoExpert. Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Scanlon PD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 4, 2015.