Communicating With Your Doctor

Last updated: June 2022

Most people have no idea how to ask questions of their doctor nor do they know what questions to ask. They go into the doctor’s office, he looks at the results of tests, like Spirometry, listens to your chest with his stethoscope, mumbles a few words, smiles, says OK, carries on, and leaves the room.

Communication with your doctor

Sometimes doctors can seem unsympathetic and appear to have no understanding of their patients. They are not unsympathetic, and they do understand their patients, but, because we have little understanding of what is happening to our bodies, we miss a great opportunity to ask questions.

This is all due to poor communication on both our parts.

Helping ourselves by knowing ourselves

As a person with a chronic illness, it is of little advantage to let matters rest in the hands of others. It is our obligation to learn as much as we can about our illness, and more importantly, how it affects us.

Until we learn what is happening, we can not possibly know what questions to ask the professionals.

Finding support in communities

Finding reputable sites to learn from like COPD communities, joining support groups, and being involved with others who have COPD, will help you educate yourself and understand what is happening.

More importantly, you will learn why things are happening.

Charting your COPD

Charting and tracking will help you to better understand your COPD. Subtle changes can make a big impact on your breathing, so knowing what happened at this time last year will help you to better predict what is likely to happen this year.

Each season has its own challenges like summer humidity and freezing in winter, so it is up to us to understand the best way to manage those challenges.

How do you chart and track?

What is the best way to track your symptoms? Grab a notebook.

Any notebook that you can find and start by writing about how you feel today. I start each day with gratitude because being grateful automatically puts me in a great mood.

Creating a series of lines, vertically and horizontally is a grid tracker. Now you can input information about what happened each day.

Track things like exercise, weather, anxiety, pain, blood sugar, blood pressure, water, and sleep pattern. Keeping track is simply for observing and for possibly seeing patterns.

For instance, I know that on high humidity days my breathing will give me problems.

Once you learn the trick to charting and keeping track every day of how you reacted to the environment around us, you can predict how and what to expect in the future. We can only predict the future by learning from the past.

I used trackers to tell the doctor my story.

Keeping your trackers up to date will give your doctor evidence-based information on how you are doing or what changes need to be made. You can keep track of any information you need on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Even if your doctor doesn’t have time to look at the entire tracker, you can tag the pages of the days that made you feel bad and you now will have the information about the questions you would like answers to.

You can educate yourself about your COPD and have a better understanding of the triggers that make changes to your breathing.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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