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Questions for the doctor

This checklist is a collection of questions gathered from a variety of sources and people with COPD that we have met over a period of time. More questions could be added to fit your individual need as well. 

These are only suggestions, designed to help you preplan for your early doctors visits.

  1. What is my exact diagnosis? Is it mild, moderate or severe?
  2. Exactly which components are predominant?
  3. What do you think will be the progression of my particular case of COPD? 
  4. Is this treatable and what medications should I take? 
  5. What is the purpose of each of the medications that you have prescribed? 
  6. Please explain the side effects of these medications? 
  7. Do you have any samples of the medications you will prescribe? 
  8. What spacer do you want me to use and do you have one? 
  9. What do I do if these medications do not seem to help me? 
  10. Under what circumstances do you prescribe steroids (prednisone), either inhaled or oral? 
  11. Will you order routine PFTs (pulmonary function studies), chest x-rays and ABGs (arterial blood gas) and how often do you repeat them? 
  12. What do the tests mean? And I would like a copy for my records. 
  13. How can I slow down the progression of this disease? 
  14. Will vitamins, exercise, etc., help and which ones? 
  15. Will you refer me to pulmonary rehabilitation? 
  16. Do you have an assistant or someone to teach me the proper use of these inhalers and educate me on the basics of COPD and its management? 
  17. Do you arrange for oxygen therapy for your patients that meet the criteria for need? 
  18. Would you order a baseline Bone Density Scan so we can monitor any bone mineral loss? (If you are on prednisone)
  19. How many physicians in your group are on call for COPD exacerbations in an emergency? 
  20. Is there always a doctor available by phone? 
  21. When should I go to the ER if I cannot reach you? 
  22. Does the hospital you routinely admit to have a full-service Intensive Care Unit to manage respiratory critical care? 
  23. How can I avoid infections and what do I do if I think I have one? 
  24. Will a peak flow meter help me? If so, how? 
  25. Since I have multiple diseases, please explain to me how you think one will affect the others? 
  26. Will you prescribe antibiotics for me to keep on hand at home in case I get sick on a weekend or holiday? 
    Under what circumstances should I begin taking the antibiotics? 
  27. Do you routinely give annual influenza vaccinations? 
  28. Should I have a Pneumovax vaccination, and when should I have it repeated? 
  29. How much of my total care will you be responsible for and when should I see my family practitioner?

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