Work with your doctor to help keep your treatment on track
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease, so it’s important to keep talking with your doctor. When you go for regular check-ins, your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and make changes to your treatment plan, as needed. Be sure to keep track of any changes in your health so you can discuss them during these visits.
What to expect at your next doctor check-in
Measure your breathing
Every few months, your doctor may perform spirometry (a test that measures how much you are able to exhale) or other breathing tests to keep track of how quickly your symptoms are changing over time.
Ask about your symptoms
Pay close attention to increases in shortness of breath, intense coughing (with or without mucus), or frequency of COPD symptom flare-ups. Tell your doctor if you’re unable to perform your normal daily activities. Also tell your doctor if you are using your rescue inhaler more often than normal.
Evaluate your current treatment plan
Your doctor will look at the dosages of medications you’re taking, how well you’re following your treatment plan, if you’re using your inhaler properly, how well your symptoms are being controlled, and any side effects you may be experiencing. Your doctor will then make any necessary changes to your plan, if needed.
How you can prepare for your next visit
When you write down how you’re feeling, you’re less likely to forget to mention something important to your doctor. So before each visit, take a few minutes to jot down your answers to the questions below. Your answers can help your doctor see how well your symptoms are being controlled with your current treatment plan.
Since your last visit:
- How often have you been: breathless, coughing, or had trouble with mucus?
- Have you had trouble: doing your normal activities or sleeping? How much?
- Do you need more help learning to use your inhaler properly?
Track your treatment each day
to prepare for your next appointment with your doctor.
Other things you can do to help your breathing
Your doctor’s visits are also a great time to talk about other things that can affect your COPD—including quitting smoking, getting flu and pneumonia vaccines, avoiding exposure to toxic substances, and sticking to your prescribed treatment plan.