Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in asthma (an allergist-immunologist or pulmonologist).

Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.

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.
  • Note when your symptoms are most likely to bother you — for example, if your symptoms are worse when the air is cold or dry, or when you do certain kinds of exercise.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major life events and any changes in your job or workplace.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you make the most of your time together. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Is exercise-induced asthma the most likely cause of my breathing problems?
  • Are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any preparation?
  • What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • What steps can I take on my own to help reduce my symptoms?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions?
  • Do I need to restrict my activity in any way?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that may come up during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Do you have breathing problems only when exercising, or at other times as well?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with allergies or asthma?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Do allergies or asthma run in your family?
  • What medications do you take, including herbal remedies?
  • Do you have any chronic health problems, such as heart disease?
Nov. 08, 2011