Making Your Medical Visits More Productive | American Lung Association

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Making Your Medical Visits More Productive

Regular care is part of your treatment plan. Don't wait until you have problems to see a healthcare provider.

If this is your first visit with a healthcare provider:

  • Bring a copy of your medical records or a short note describing your health problems, when they occurred and the healthcare provider's name who most recently cared for you.
  • Take a list of all the medicines you are now using. Be sure to include over-the-counter medicines, herbs and supplements.
  • Make a list of all the healthcare providers you see and why you see them.
  • Make a list of the symptoms you are having and note which ones bother you the most. Also, write down when they started and what you have done, if anything, to make them better.

What you need to tell your healthcare provider:

  • What symptoms you are having or your peak flow reading.
  • How long your symptoms have lasted.
  • What you think triggered your symptoms.
  • What medicines you have taken.
  • When you have taken your medicines.
  • Whether or not you think your asthma medicines are working.
  • Whether or not your medicines are causing side effects.

Make it a habit to write down the things you want to discuss with your healthcare provider. You can write down problems you are having or note any questions you want to ask about your medicines. Before your next visit, download Getting Ready for Your Next Office Visit, a helpful tool to make your visit more productive.

Exercise is important for people with asthma. Experiencing asthma symptoms during or after exercise may discourage you from participating in physical activity. If this is the case, tell your healthcare provider. Download Staying Active with Exercise-Induced Asthma, a helpful tool as you work with your healthcare provider to find a treatment plan that is right for you.

Successful Communication

Your healthcare provider will teach you how to use your medicines and help you learn to recognize signs that your asthma is getting worse. Be sure you understand. If you don't understand what your healthcare provider is saying, ask questions until you do. Show him or her how you use your medicines and discuss the your inhalation technique, which can be different for each device. If your healthcare provider does not have the time to review your inhalation technique, ask to work with a nurse or asthma educator. Your pharmacist can help too.

Your healthcare provider should tell you:

  • What medications you should take.
  • When you should take them.
  • What your medications are supposed to do.
  • What the first signs of problems are so you can take action.
  • When to call your healthcare provider for advice.
  • When to go to an emergency room.

If you have asthma, work with your provider to develop an Asthma Action Plan that includes key information on your asthma medicines, triggers, symptoms and plans for an emergency.


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