Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You'll probably first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a pulmonologist — a doctor who specializes in lung disorders.

What you can do

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

  • What are your symptoms and when did they start?
  • Are you receiving treatment for any other medical conditions?
  • What medications and supplements have you taken in the past five years?
  • What are all the occupations you've ever had, even if only for a few months?
  • Do any members of your family have a chronic lung disease of any kind?
  • Have you ever received chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer?
  • Do you have any other medical conditions, especially arthritis?

It will help your doctor make a diagnosis if he or she can compare an old chest X-ray with the results of a current X-ray. The actual X-ray image is more important to your doctor than is the report alone. If your primary care physician had a chest X-ray done as part of your initial evaluation, bring that with you when you see a pulmonologist.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

  • Are your symptoms persistent, or do they seem to disappear and then reappear?
  • Have you recently had new contact with the following: air conditioners, humidifiers, pools, hot tubs, or water-damaged walls or carpet?
  • Have any close relatives or friends been diagnosed with a related condition?
  • Do you come into contact with birds through your work or hobbies? Does a neighbor raise pigeons?
  • Do you have any family history of lung disease?
  • Do you or did you smoke? If so, how much?
  • Have you been diagnosed or treated for any other medical conditions?
Jul. 09, 2011