Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor about COPD
- Am I using my medication correctly?
In order to get the most out of your COPD treatment, take your medications just as they are prescribed. Some inhalers and nebulizers can be tricky to use. Show your doctor how you are using your medication to make sure you are doing it correctly. Use this COPD Management Plan to stay organized.
- What should I do if I feel my COPD worsening?
Talk to your doctor about what you should do if you feel your COPD worsening, or you are having an exacerbation. You can help prevent hospitalization by knowing what symptoms to look for and how to best handle them. The COPD Management Plan you complete with your doctor will help you know what actions to take based on your symptoms.
- Can you refer to me a pulmonary rehabilitation program?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of education and exercise classes that teach you about your lungs and your disease, and how to exercise, strengthen my breathing muscles and be more active with less shortness of breath. The classes take place in a group setting, giving you the chance to meet others with your condition while both giving and receiving support. Many people with COPD experience physical and emotional benefits from participating in pulmonary rehabilitation.
- What vaccinations do I need?
With COPD, a cold or other respiratory infection can become very serious. Get vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia, and encourage family and those around you to do the same. It is also a good idea to wash your hands often, practice good oral hygiene and avoid crowds and people who are ill.
- What else can I do to improve my lung health and quality of life?
Many COPD patients find relief through breathing exercises. If you have COPD, you might feel isolated or depressed. Connecting with social support through pulmonary rehabilitation programs, Better Breathers Clubs, the Lung HelpLine, or online support communities can not only help you emotionally but physically as well. Find help to stop smoking. Talk with your doctor about all of the ways you can maintain a good quality of life while living with COPD.
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 16, 2017.